Of course in a normal society, the first priority of any government funded agency is the citizens of that country itself, but it’s no longer governed/administered by normal people.
NOTE: When I moved here you couldn’t even do voluntary work, and you know what? I long for a return to it.
Recommend a Refugee web service for asylum seekers launches
On Monday the Finnish Red Cross launched a new web-based programme, which aims to help asylum seekers find their way into working life. The Recommend a Refugee service aims to introduce employers to potential workers.
Many of the asylum seekers at the Auramo reception centre in Vantaa, just north of Helsinki, say they’d gladly work for free in jobs like snow shovelling or helping out at senior citizens’ homes.
Riyadh Aqashad, a computer programmer from Iraq who speaks English, says he already volunteers by helping fellow Iraqis in Finland with translation and other tasks. He also volunteers to clear snow.
Despite their enthusiasm for the sorts of tasks they’re already doing, asylum seekers like Aqashad also have higher educational and work experiences that they’d like to take advantage of.
Web based service
The Recommend a Refugee programme uses a smartphone and web service and was launched on Monday by the Finnish Red Cross and business partners.
With a few taps of a smartphone screen – the service is also available via computer – and entry of some personal information, the service helps to connect asylum seekers with employers.
At the moment most of the jobs listed include temporary internships, volunteer and communal work.
An engineer from Iraq, Arkan Aal-Ohayef, says the point of participation in the programme is not about being paid, but to get a foot in the door.
“I don’t think about the money I think the first step is the training and how to engage on the job itself, the job market. Even if it was just a volunteer job, I don’t have problem with that,” Aal-Ohayef says.
No work permit required
Because these jobs are unpaid, issues like work permits are not a problem.
In Finland, asylum seekers with valid ID cards can work for pay after having lived in the country for three months. Those without IDs need to wait six months before taking a job.
These rules, however, do not apply to unpaid internships and volunteer work.
Recommend a Refugee was developed in Finland and the Netherlands. In Finland it is run by the Finnish Red Cross in cooperation with Swedish-language newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet and Helsinki-based marketing and public relations firm SEK.
During the programme’s first phase organisers hope to connect some 50 trainees with suitable employers.
The programme is only just starting in the Helsinki region but the goal is to expand it throughout the country.