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Swiss companies Novartis and Adecco commit to hiring refugees

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Switzerland issues a limited number of work-permits annually for residents of countries outside the European Union or the European Free Trade Association. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Swiss job placement company Adecco and pharma giant Novartis are among dozens of companies that on Monday pledged to hire tens of thousands of refugees across Europe.

At a summit in Paris on the eve of World Refugee Day, a total of 41 companies pledged to offer training and employment opportunities to refugees over the next three years.

This will have “a direct impact on 250,000 refugees”, for whom this should generate “more than two billion euros in income each year”, Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of the NGO Tent Partnership for Refugees, which organised the event, told Agence France-Presse.

There are firm commitments to hire 13,680 refugees. Amazon, for example, has announced its intention to hire at least 5,000 refugees in Europe over three years, the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains 1,500 each, and the French multinational Teleperformance 500.

The major temporary employment agencies (Adecco, ManpowerGroup, Randstad) have also pledged to “connect 152,000 refugees to jobs”, while other companies have promised to train “more than 86,000 refugees”, according to the NGO’s press release.

These pledges, which are intended to address “labor shortages” at a time when “Europe is currently facing its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War”, constitute “the largest set of commitments ever made by companies to advance the economic integration of refugees”, according to the organisation.

This level of commitment is partly explained by the wave of emotion generated by the movement of displaced Ukrainians, says Ulukaya. A former refugee himself, Tent’s founder became a billionaire in the United States thanks to his Chobani food company.

“People support Ukrainian refugee women. What happened to them had a huge impact on the companies that made these pledges,” he explained, hoping that these commitments would create “momentum” among small businesses.

Accenture Adidas, Blackstone, BP, Duni Group, ESS Group, FCC Medio Ambiente, Hempel, Hyatt, Ipsos, KFC, Kyndryl, Groupe L’Oréal, Menzies Aviation, PepsiCo, Pfizer, QSRP, Starbucks EMEA, Suez, The Body Shop, and The Kraft Heinz Company are among the other companies that have made recruitment commitments.

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