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In global refugee flow, Canada finds a surprising solution to a labor shortage

TU Curmudgeon

B.A. (Sarc), LLb. (Lex Sarcasus), PhD (Sarc.)
DP Veteran
Mar 7, 2018
Reaction score
Lower Mainland of BC
Political Leaning
From The Christian Science Monitor

In global refugee flow, Canada finds a surprising solution to a labor shortage

Nagham Abu Issa was working as an executive assistant in a cement factory in Damascus when the civil war started in Syria. Her family fled to Lebanon. But with no job prospects there, her siblings left on the risky passage to Europe. Ms. Abu Issa, the eldest daughter, stayed behind with her mother.

She is a refugee. She is also a valuable employee. She has a degree from Damascus University in English literature and has studied human resources. As she worked her way up in her job, she had big dreams – to become a chief operating officer or even start her own company one day.

“My communication skills are my strongest asset, both internally and externally,” she says in an interview over Skype.

Now she hopes to take that savvy to Canada, not through resettlement but to fill the country’s labor gaps. She has interviewed with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), an international NGO that has started pilots in Canada and Australia to match a small number of refugees based in Lebanon and Jordan with employment opportunities abroad.

The experiment so far is tiny, but it’s aiming high: to forge a new pathway for refugees to be recognized for what they can bring to a country, not for the state of the countries they were forced to leave. In so doing, TBB hopes to shift attitudes about refugees among Western nations and their immigration systems, some of which are under assault by the rise of populism and nativism.


Redefining a "problem" as an "opportunity" sometimes actually works. More frequently it jogs people out of the ruts that they are accustomed to think if.
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