What is the Process of Hiring/Working as a Refugee?

When it comes to finding capable and reliable talent, many businesses struggle. But with the right approach, you can find great talent and get effective results. If looking for a reliable source of skilled workers, hiring refugees may be something to consider.

Oftentimes, refugees are eager to learn new skills and gain experience. To help you successfully hire a refugee worker, this article will go over some of the steps involved.

What is a Refugee Worker?

Refugees are people who have left their homes and/or countries in search of safety and a better life. For many refugees, they had to leave their homes to escape persecution or extreme poverty. The majority of people who are refugees are members of ethnic minorities or religious groups that are under threat where they live.

When violence of war or extreme political oppression makes it dangerous for refugees to return home, they often don’t have anywhere else to go. Countries, like the US, accept a certain number of refugees on an annual basis to help provide an escape and a new opportunity to make a life for themselves.

Once they apply and get a job, they are considered a refugee worker.

Why Hire Refugees?

There are a number of benefits to hiring refugees. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why employers choose to hire refugees.

  •  Reliable Talent At Low Cost – Many refugees have skills that are difficult to find in the local labor market. This can include a specialized set of skills (language proficiency, medical expertise, etc.), or a combination of transferable skills (work ethic, problem-solving ability, etc.). These people will often work for a lower wage as well.
  • A Positive Impact On Your Organization – Hiring refugees not only creates a positive impact on your organization and community, but it also creates a better future for these people. It can be incredibly rewarding for employers to be part of this.
  • Diverse Workforce – For those who believe that a diverse and inclusive work environment is important in the fight for equality and inclusivity, hiring refugees is a great way to build a more diverse workforce.
  • Opportunity – Again, most refugees didn’t leave their homeland, language, culture, family, and jobs because they wanted to – they had to. Giving them a job can lead to loyalty, appreciation, and hard work.

How Can You Hire a Refugee Worker?

Hiring a refugee worker is totally and completely legal. Remember, refugees were brought and admitted into the country by the government. If an employer happens to come across an applicant that is also a refugee, the hiring process is pretty much the same as any other hiring process.

Reaching out to agencies such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) can help connect employers with local refugees.

Are There Legal Issues?

Yes, but not in the way that many may think. This includes having to undergo federal and state vetting processes to make sure that you are hiring a safe and reliable employee.

Before hiring a refugee, be sure to have an immigration attorney look over everything. As mentioned, the overall bottom line is that in most cases, a refugee has the exact same working rights as any U.S citizen, but special cases do still come up.

There are also a number of federal and state laws that may impact hiring refugee workers. This includes laws around wages, working conditions, and discrimination. Therefore, it is important to understand the applicable laws in your state and city.


In an effort to find qualified talent and strengthen your workforce, it may make sense to consider hiring refugees. With their diverse set of skills, an eagerness to learn new things, and the desire to create a better future for their families, employers are often pleased with the quality of work they do.