EMPP Candidates who departed for Canada in October from L to R: Adifatah Abdulle Sabriye, Alamin Manji Musa, Sylvia Kamencu (RefugePoint’s Manager of Complementary Pathways), Bigirimana Richard, Abisi Olivier, Patricia Omar. Photo: Diana Karua
Last month, RefugePoint’s labor mobility team celebrated several new milestones.
Eleven Refugees Depart for Canada in October
Last month, a cohort of eleven refugees departed for Canada through the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) to start new jobs as Continuing Care Assistants, following months of COVID-related delays. “It is a process that has taken time, but we are happy that it is finally coming to an end,” said RefugePoint’s Manager of Complementary Pathways, Sylvia Kamencu.
The Canadian government started EMPP with the aim of increasing opportunities for refugees to participate in Canada’s economic immigration programs. Since 2018, RefugePoint has been supporting the identification of qualified and experienced refugees in Kenya and connecting them with job opportunities with employers in Canada who are facing labor market shortages. EMPP affords refugees the opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety by virtue of demonstrating that they offer the skills and experience for in-demand jobs. It allows refugees to advance their careers and benefits local communities in Canada by filling critical roles in key sectors and industries that are impacted by workforce shortages. Through its engagement with EMPP, RefugePoint aims to prepare around 100 candidates per year for job matches in Canada, putting them on a path to permanent residency that also offers a lasting solution to displacement.
“My entire life, I have known the life of a refugee. Getting an opportunity like this opens so many doors for me and my family,” shared Saido Abdinoor Hassan, one of the candidates who departed in October. Saido received a job offer from MacLeod Group in Nova Scotia and will work as a Continuing Care Assistant.
The recent departure of these eleven clients marks a very big milestone for the EMPP, as it gives hope to those still in refugee camps. “Having seen the departures that have been happening this month, so many refugees have renewed zeal to apply for the EMPP because they can now see the fruits of it; they are now sure that this is an actual pathway for refugees to actualize durable solutions,” Sylvia shared.
Jenn Wilson, RefugePoint’s Director of Third Country Solutions added, “On a recent trip to Kenya, we heard from partners working in education and training programs–and from refugees themselves–that EMPP has had a positive ripple effect, motivating youth and adults alike to pursue English language training and invest in building skills that may help them qualify for labor mobility opportunities. Regardless of whether they ultimately participate in EMPP, these efforts will benefit them and their communities.”
The refugees who departed for Canada in October 2023 were mostly from the Dadaab Refugee Camp, but also include the first cohort of refugees from Kakuma Refugee Camp. They were able to gain work experience from within refugee camps with help from the International Red Cross (IRC): IRC trains refugees in the camp who have completed their secondary education and recruits them to work in their many clinics in the camps as support staff with incentive pay. These eleven candidates were offered their positions after a rigorous process that included either video conferencing or in-person interviews during job fairs held at the refugee camp. All of the individuals will receive permanent resident status on arrival, allowing them to build new lives for themselves and their families in Canada.
“It gives us renewed hope, as the staff working in this program, to also continue helping more and more refugees who are able to come into this program. So for us, this is a big day. We are excited as RefugePoint’s labor mobility team. We are happy to see them so happy, to see them full of joy that they’re finally able to depart. And we know this then unlocks solutions even for the refugees in the camps,” Sylvia shared.
RefugePoint’s Network Of EMPP Partners Expands To Include Ontario
In October, RefugePoint and Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) conducted a successful job fair in Kenya where refugee candidates who had been identified for the EMPP were interviewed for job opportunities in Ontario, Canada. The job fair was a milestone for the EMPP as it marked the first visit of an employer and partners from Ontario to Kenya, expanding RefugePoint’s network of partners and provinces that are recruiting through the EMPP.
In partnership with TBB, which led the employer outreach and engagement process in Canada, RefugePoint facilitated job interviews in Kakuma Refugee Settlement for refugees who reside there, and in Nairobi for urban-based refugees and refugees who reside in the Dadaab Refugee Settlement. In Kakuma, the delegation also visited a number of livelihoods and skills programs and held discussions with UNHCR and partners around strategies to deepen connections between skills and vocational training, livelihoods programming and the EMPP. Throughout the visit, candidate interactions and job interviews, the employer and partners remarked on the high caliber of skills and expertise that were demonstrated by the candidates, presenting opportunities for scale and deeper engagement with the EMPP.
To learn more about labor mobility eligibility and application requirements, click here.