Unleashing refugee and migrant talent

The Human Safety Net supports the labour market integration programme for highly qualified refugees and migrants of our Swiss partner Capacity.

For a long time, migrants and refugees have had severe difficulties navigating the Swiss labour market, even though half of the newcomers have a university degree. Despite being highly qualified, migrants face regular rejections and long periods of unemployment, leading them to depression and social isolation. 

To tackle this pressing issue, The Human Safety Net supports the employability programme Access Fast Track of its Swiss partner, Capacity. Access Fast Track is a labour market integration programme to support highly qualified refugees and migrants in achieving professional, social, and economic inclusion in Switzerland. With Access Fast Track, we are meeting the needs of the incoming Ukrainian population along with other groups of refugees and migrants in the country, thus alleviating their situation and mitigating the burden on the Swiss state. 

The programme supports refugees and migrants in an agile and people-centred way, leveraging Capacity’s field experience of working with vulnerable communities. In parallel, the programme aims to connect the migrant and refugee talent pool with companies looking to diversify their workforce and thus contribute to transforming the Swiss labour market. 

The Access programme is designed to provide migrants and refugees with a wide array of soft skill training, much needed to break the invisible barriers of the Swiss labour market. In addition, the programme also helps them with their social and economic integration into Swiss society. This is done by matching every participant 1:1 with a corporate volunteer of the business partners, Generali Switzerland being one of them. The “Talent Coaches” offer expertise and support during the programme and often beyond. Furthermore, different formats for networking are also a relevant element of the offer. 

Osman Gokturk, a programme participant originally from Turkey, has been on a job hunt for over six months without a single interview invitation. He hopes that through Capacity’s project, he will be able to meet more people from the Swiss IT sector and to gain access to new networks: “It is difficult to meet people in Switzerland […] everybody tells me you have a great CV. […] if I can get a chance to interview, I know I can convince them.”

The Human Safety Net Switzerland has supported refugees in Switzerland with Capacity’s Entrepreneurship programme since 2019. With the firm belief that our societies can profit from the skills of our newcomers, from 2019 to 2022, 89 persons with refugee or migrant backgrounds were able to benefit from the Entrepreneurship programme. Twenty-five new businesses or social initiatives have been founded by participants and 14 participants have found a job thanks to our activities. 

Since the beginning of a pilot in February 2022, 124 highly qualified refugees or migrants have taken part in the Access programme. Thirty-eight of them landed a job within six months after finishing the programme.