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Challenge to businesses to employ more refugees

Challenge to businesses to employ more refugees

(picture caption: Philippe Legrain Parliamentary Breakfast - Tayo Agunleijika (Multicultural NZ), Rochelle Stewart-Allen (HOST International), Lexy Seedhouse (ChangeMakers Refugee Forum), Hannah Northover (NZ Human Rights Commission), Anneliese Boston (NZ Human Rights Commission), Rakesh Naidoo (NZ Human Rights Commission) (picture courtesy: Nando Azevedo Photography))

A visiting British economist has laid down a wero for New Zealand employers to overcome their psychological hurdles and employ more refugees. 

Philippe Legrain, author of the book Immigrants: Why Your Country Needs Them as well as articles for The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, was the key note speaker at a Breakfast held last week at Parliament hosted by the Hon Grant Robertson in association with HOST International, Multicultural New Zealand, ChangeMakers Refugee Forum  and the Human Rights Commission.

“Employing refugees isn’t just a good thing to do - it’s also good for business,” said Legrain. 

While taking the step to employ a refugee creates a lot of goodwill with staff and customers, there is also very strong business case that makes the proposition compelling.

“International evidence shows that refugees are generally very hardworking, loyal and can help create linkages to new domestic and international markets,” he added.

One of the biggest risks businesses have to manage is retaining good staff. Refugees make excellent loyal employees who generally stay for an extended period once they’re given a chance at employment. 

Refugees also help create a diverse workforce which is shown to be beneficial to business productivity. Research shows, for example, that companies with a high ethnically diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to have larger than average financial returns. Diversity in the workplace brings innovation and innovation begets business success. 

“The migrant and refugee communities are not asking for charity,” said Pancha Narayanan, National President of Multicultural New Zealand who helped emcee the breakfast, “New Zealand employers must put aside any preconceived misconceptions about refugees and migrants and look at the facts. If they do, they won’t just be helping someone in need - they’ll also be helping their own bottom lines.” 

- by Multicultural New Zealand


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