Can remote working alleviate the refugee crisis?

One prominent business figure says HR professionals can combine recruitment with CSR for ethical and effective outcomes.

Can remote working alleviate the refugee crisis?

Remote working could help alleviate the refugee crisis and reduce crime – that’s the bold claim from one business leader who’s developed a safe way for employers to recruit immigrants, even if they don’t have a permanent address or official bank account.

“Refugees in most cases are seen as people who are illiterate and have no value – this is not the reality,” says Lilia Stoyanov, CEO of remote working platform Transformify.

“In reality, many refugees are educated, they are skilled and they could be really good workers who fill open roles nobody else wants or nobody else can fill because the market is depleted.”

Inspired by the refugee crisis currently gripping Europe, Stoyanov developed a product which allows employers to hire refugees as remote workers, no matter where they are in the world.

Not only that, but Stoyanov developed a virtual banking system so employees can be paid safely and access their wages even if they’re unable to open a traditional bank account.

“If you don’t have a permanent address you can’t open a bank account so even if you get a job, you can’t get paid,” she explains. “So we provided them with the opportunity to get a remote job and to be paid into a virtual account.”

The virtual account is linked to a pre-paid card which refugees can use to withdraw cash or pay on POS around the world – most importantly, it can be opened without proof of address.

“This way the refugees have access to their cash all the time, it doesn’t matter if they move from one place to another, and they still have a job,” says Stoyanov, who insists the platform has the potential to decrease crime committed by refugees while empowering them to settle in new societies or return to their own home country as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“If refugees commit crime, it’s because they cannot provide for themselves or their families, they don’t have money or food, or because for a long period of time they do nothing – they can’t get a job, they don’t have a social life and they’re on the street,” says Stoyanov.

“All of this is addressed if they get a remote job and eventually when these people go back to their home countries they will still have that job and the money they receive will help revitalize the local economy.”

While hiring refugees as remote workers can help displaced people back on their feet, Stoyanov insists the benefits for employers go far beyond finding a loyal new recruit.

“Everyone is very sympathetic to them and the loyalty to the brand and the employer increases a lot,” she says. “It is not only the loyalty of the employees it is also the loyalty of the clients to the brand as well. Everyone wants to see the brand is doing something good for society.”

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