PRESS RELEASE: New Guide Helps Employers Hire Afghan Newcomers in U.S.
- Release follows commitments by major companies to create job opportunities for Afghans in the country
NEW YORK, November 22, 2021 — As businesses across the country look to fill millions of holiday and other job openings, two organizations today are releasing a new guide to enable employers to hire the tens of thousands of Afghans who arrived in the United States over the summer.
The guide’s release follows a recent pledge by a coalition of three dozen major companies that committed to hiring Afghan refugees who arrived in the U.S. following the American military withdrawal.
The new U.S. Employers’ Guide to Hiring Afghan Refugees was developed by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), a non-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants entering the United States, and sponsored by the Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent), a global business network of more than 200 companies committed to integrating refugees in their new communities. Tent spearheaded the coalition’s commitments.
The guide provides essential information for U.S. businesses and their human resources teams that want to hire Afghan refugees. It includes facts about the refugees’ educational and professional backgrounds, where they are likely to settle in the U.S. – and, importantly, a list of organizations that can connect them to Afghans looking for work.
There are approximately 200,000 Afghan immigrants in the U.S. today – about 130,000 that were in the country prior to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30 and 65,000 Afghans have arrived as of September 2021. Another 30,000 are expected to arrive by December 2022. While the majority are still residing in eight military bases across the country, it is expected that the 65,000 Afghans will be resettled in states across the country by February 2022 – meaning they will be starting to look for jobs to support themselves and their families.
“Employers in the U.S. need to hire millions of people, and there is an ideal solution right in front of us: filling positions with these new Afghan members of our communities – helping them start their lives in America,” said Yaron Schwartz, U.S. lead for the Tent Partnership for Refugees. “Regardless of their immigration status, Afghans arriving in the U.S. are legally authorized to work, and they have so much to bring to our companies and communities. Companies will stand to gain from Afghans’ loyalty, resilience, and extensive experience working alongside the U.S. military and government. We stand ready to help any company who wants to hire our new Afghan neighbors, across all sectors and positions.”
Through 2022, many Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders – Afghans who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or military – will arrive in the U.S. This group has especially high levels of education and strong English language skills. In fact, 90% of Afghan SIV holders reported having completed secondary education or higher, and 89% reported their spoken English as at least “good.”
The latest government data estimates that there are more than 10 million job openings in the U.S.
“As an organization devoted to helping refugees restart their lives in America, we know that jobs are absolutely critical to reaching self-sufficiency and successfully integrating into their new communities. Our newest Afghan neighbors are driven, capable, and resilient – and they will be vital contributors to employers seeking new talent amid a nationwide labor shortage. We’re excited to launch this guide to make it as easy as possible for companies to leverage their skills and help these families achieve their own American Dream,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
The coalition that pledged to help integrate Afghan refugees into the American economy – now up to 50 members – includes some of America’s biggest employers: Accenture, Amazon, Chobani, Deloitte, Facebook, Gap Inc., Hilton, HP, Mastercard, Pfizer, Tyson Foods, Uber, UPS and Western Union.
“Chobani’s values have always centered around our people, where our greatest impact is the one that we have on each other,” said Grace Zuncic, Chobani’s Chief People and Culture Officer. “Our diverse workforce is a key contributor to our success and working towards hiring recently arrived Afghans is consistent with our commitment to supporting people in need. Partnering with our local resettlement organizations, we are refocusing our efforts on training programs, transportation options, and language proficiency support to encourage Afghans to join our team and have successful careers.”
Companies in the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees will receive individualized guidance on their refugee hiring efforts. Tent will assess a company’s hiring needs, provide tailored advice and training tutorials on how to develop an effective refugee hiring program, and connect them to refugee resettlement agencies and local non-profit organizations that can help companies recruit refugee talent.
In addition, Tent has established a Working Group for Coalition members to share best practices on hiring and integrating Afghans into companies’ workforces and to provide a forum for companies to discuss how to overcome roadblocks in the refugee hiring process.
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About Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is the largest faith-based national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable immigrant communities in the United States. Through more than 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America. As a national resettlement organization, LIRS has more than 25 years of experience across the United States supporting refugee career entry and advancement while responding to the latest immigration workforce and market trends. For more information: www.lirs.org.
About the Tent Partnership for Refugees
With more and more refugees displaced for longer periods of time, businesses have a critical role to play in helping refugees integrate economically in their new host communities. The Tent Partnership for Refugees mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of more than 30 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Founded by Chobani’s founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016, we are a network of over 200 major companies committed to including refugees. Tent believes that companies can most sustainably support refugees by leveraging their core business operations – by engaging refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs and consumers. The full list of Tent members can be found here. Find out more at www.tent.org.