On World Refugee Day 2021, Advocates for Dignity (AFD) along with partnering organisation Talent Beyond Boundaries hosted an online webinar on Friday 6 August 2021 to discuss skilled stream migration for refugees in Australia.

The Panelists included Sathya Gnanakaran, Australia and New Zealand director for Talent Beyond Boundaries and joined by two of the program participants, Fadi and Derar.

The robust discussion was moderated by Assala Sayara, a social justice worker and activist both locally and globally.

Rabia Ceylan welcomed all viewers to the webinar on behalf of the partnering organisations Advocates for Dignity and Talent Beyond Boundaries.

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees globally and its falls on 20 June every year. Each day across the world thousands of families are forced to leave their homes and leave everything behind in search of a better life and future for themselves.

Today, there are over 80million displaced people and over 25 million refugees across the world. These aren’t just numbers but real people with real stories and these numbers are simply not good enough. There’s no doubt that we’re in a global refugee crisis and the question shouldn’t be IF we should act but rather WHAT we should do.

Talent Beyond Boundaries is the first organisation in the world to focus on pioneering labor mobility as a complementary solution to traditional humanitarian resettlement. Already, others have begun to implement aspects of their model. They’re committed to sharing resources and supporting governments and other organisations to replicate and expand on this critical work.

A collaborative approach is the fastest and best route to a more equitable system; one that extends life-changing work and migration opportunities to displaced people everywhere.

Refugees are doctors, engineers, skilled trade workers, software developers, and more. Many refugees have marketable skills, yet find themselves in countries where they don’t have the right to work locally and are locked out of international skilled migration systems.

By engaging governments, refugee-serving organisations, the business sector, and local communities, TBB is creating safe, legal pathways that enable displaced people to move for work, resume their careers, and rebuild their lives with dignity.

In the panel Sathya mentions that she “has always wanted to do something with skills and experience in order to make a bigger impact”. The work of TBB reflects this goal perfectly.

Derar and Fadi shared moving stories about their own involvement with the TBB program. Fadi tells us that “In 2017 I was a stateless person with no kind of legal identification at all, I had no direct connections to Lebanon… I made a decision that I’m not going to die as a stateless person in Lebanon…TBB was different because they asked me about my skills and languages – for the first time someone was asking me not about my weaknesses but about my strengths”.

Fadi now works as a management consultant at Accenture.

Derar tell us “I had been in Jordan for 6 years, knocked on many doors looking for an opportunity to improve my life for myself and my family.  When I saw TBB, I thought it would be similar to many things I already tried but I got a call within a few days of registering and then we started an interesting journey over 2 years until I reached Australia…I still remember the day I was told I got the job offer – it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

Derar now works at internationally recognised financial technology company, Iress.

The key message we were left with was that refugees have hopes and dreams like the rest of us and only need the opportunity to thrive just as much as anyone else.

Fadi says, “They (the general public) are under the assumption that refugees are just people that want to survive, but we are people who have ambitions and dreams, we want to have a chance at life. People don’t take that into consideration, we will give you some shelter and food and live a happy life because that’s all you want as a refugee. That is what sets TBB apart from all the other organisations. No one else allows us to have a life and keep our dignity”.

The program was officially closed by Mr Mehmet Saral, President of the Advocates for Dignity, who thanks TBB for joining AFD in making this event possible. He also thanked each of the speakers and particularly the success story of Fadi and Derar in informing our viewers of their inspirational journey to Australia as refugees.

Mehmet  mentioned of the Turkish refugees currently living in Greece, who could also jump on the TBB program to migrate as skilled resources to democratic nations such as Australia, England, USA and others where TBB has an office.

Link to the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=U9XvtDaVLQw&ab_channel=AdvocatesforDignity