Refugees are a great part of our community. Catholic Charities started resettling refugees in Phoenix in 1975. These are individuals who are forced out of their country of origin due to a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership to a particular social group, who are in urgent need of humanitarian protection.
The U.S has a proud history of welcoming those who are in need of protection against persecution, and Phoenix has played an important part of those humanitarian efforts. For many refugees, their first job is their first opportunity to have true freedom where they can support themselves and their family, which is the key step to rebuilding their lives and starting over.
It is important to know that there is no long-term safety net for refugees, and all services provided to refugees are designed to support economic self-sufficiency (employment) as soon as possible after arrival into the United States. Employers who hire refugees not only are meeting their own needs for a reliable workforce, but are helping individual start over and begin a new life. Here are a few frequently asked questions employers have about working with refugees.
1. What are the statistics for how many Phoenix businesses work with refugees?
In 2014, Catholic Charities refugee program worked with 20 employers in production/manufacturing/general labor, building and grounds maintenance, hotel housekeeping, retail, food-service, and transportation. Our current database lists 54 employers to whom we have referred clients.
2. Are refugees legally able to work in the United States and can they speak English?
Refugees are authorized to work for any employer in the U.S., with the exception of federal jobs that require U.S. citizenship. In regards to speaking English, we require clients to attend ELT while waiting for employment and after entering employment, as their schedules allows, to increase their capacity to communicate in English.
3. How does Catholic Charities help me as an employer of refugees?
Our program provides support to employers that hire refugees. We help with refugees new-hire paperwork and other new-hire processes. We provide interpretation and job-coaching as needed. Many refugees, perhaps because of the hardship they have gone through, are very resilient and value the jobs they have. They work hard.
4. What about professional positions?
We can also refer clients to professional positions. We work with clients with doctorate degrees.
5. Why is hiring refugees good for our economy?
Employed refugees spend their money in the state as consumers. Employed refugees generally do not receive public benefits—or if they do, it’s reduced. Employers are helping reduce the state’s welfare system. Also, these employers are allowing their businesses and the greater community benefit from the clients’ expertise and skills.