Changing careers is never an easy undertaking, but for Rüştü it’s a challenge that is part of a bigger life journey: resettling in a foreign country as an asylum seeker. He is starting over at 41, learning a new language, culture and skills that will help him acclimate. With the help of local authorities and Randstad, he is discovering that it’s never too late to pursue new ambitions.

Rüştü is one of millions of migrants and refugees looking to start a new life. For a variety of reasons — violence, political persecution, economic survival and others — the displaced are among the most disenfranchised and at-risk people in the world. Their ranks have been growing rapidly since 2010, totalling 103 million in 2022. 

For those who have settled in the Netherlands, acquiring employment can be challenging. One way to help accelerate this process is through public private partnerships, and Rüştü was one of hundreds of refugees who is benefiting from a pilot program started by the city of Almere, the Dutch Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) and Randstad.

The initiative helps participants improve their work readiness in the Netherlands through provided training. Finding a job is a process that can be challenging to navigate for the newly arrived. While similar programs already exist, this pilot was launched to also help enrollees who have not yet become status holders. It also differs because it is the first based within a refugee center. 

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Paid work is about participating in society and feeling valuable. Work gives structure and meaning to the day. It ensures a sense of belonging. This applies to everyone, including people who have had to leave their loved ones and homes to seek safety.

mónica pérez martínez
advisor, randstad netherlands

The program is open to those with and without legal status so they can benefit from various support mechanisms. Randstad plays a pivotal role by providing guidance while focusing on the skills of each participant, matching them to the needs of employers permitted to hire third country nationals (TWV) and supporting their application to obtain legal and sustainable employment.    

According to Mónica Pérez Martínez, a Randstad advisor heading up the program, the pilot benefits both refugees and the local economy. The Netherlands is experiencing considerable talent scarcity, so by facilitating and supporting asylum seekers in their search for work, all parties benefit. Most importantly, it gives hope and brightens the future for those who have survived the trauma of relocation.

“Paid work is about participating in society and feeling valuable. Work gives structure and meaning to the day. It ensures a sense of belonging. This applies to everyone, including people who have had to leave their loved ones and homes to seek safety,” she added. "As a child of parents who emigrated to the Netherlands, I know the struggles they have experienced to participate in Dutch society and the challenges they have experienced in terms of language and stigma entering the labor market.”

two colleagues talking in the office
two colleagues talking in the office
Monica, the Randstad advisor heading up the COA-Randstad pilot program, meets with Yussef, one of millions of migrants and refugees around the world looking to start a new life.

As evidence of the pilot’s achievements, more than 100 participants have enrolled, surpassing initial goals set by the COA. Furthermore, the number of people who have secured employment contracts has nearly reached the initial target. Candidates placed by Randstad have found roles in the IT, hospitality, retail and other sectors. Agency officials say they will assess the program later this summer and, if proven successful, expand it to other Dutch municipalities.

This program is just one of many contributions Randstad has made to alleviate the refugee crisis. Randstad Poland this year has pledged to provide employment to 1,500 Ukrainian refugees, the majority of whom are women. They are also provided a one-time allowance to help pay for housing, child care and Polish language courses. In Italy, Randstad is re- and upskilling migrants, and has supported more than 1,000 participants this year. Migrants in Australia receive an 8-week mentoring program focused on personal branding and interview skills. Upon completion of the course, they are invited to a networking event with employers to find suitable jobs.

Learn more about Randstad’s latest commitment to support the Tent Partnership for Refugees.

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Randstad believes organizations have an obligation to support migrant workers and refugees as they seek out new opportunities and lives. Acquiring meaningful work is an important aspect of integrating them into host countries and helps them to achieve a sense of belonging. Through  coordinated public private partnerships, these efforts vastly improve lives while enhancing labor market outcomes for all. 


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