Best practices refugees at work

tandwielen1 Yesterday my company Seba ( and the Dutch Foundation for Refugee Students UAF ( presented best practices to use refugee talent at work. One would say, why is that necessary at all? But it appears that employers and recruiters do not automatically recognize the talents of refugees, also the high educated with Dutch diplomas. To develop these best practices, we cooperated with organisations like Dubois&Co, Hogeschool Leiden, NS, Van Houtum, Vluchtelingenwerk and VUmc so the background of our findings is real life! See for more info (Dutch only) at:

We did do research about findings elsewhere in the world, but there was not a lot of specific information. Some was about migrants in general, other was about the coaching of refugees. Hardly any material was found to study how organisations can and will use refugee talents, what is necessary for that at organisational level. If you have such material about organisations in your country, we are very interested to hear from you. Refugees are often entrepreneurial as they face the need to set up and establish themselves in a new environment so why do they not get more involved in organisations and instead colour the ranks of unemployment figures – not just in the Netherlands?
Migration and the intake of refugees can diversify and enhance the skill level of the population, increase economies of scale and foster innovation and flexibility. One interesting detail: we found that five of Australia’s eight billionaires were people whose families had originally come to the country as refugees.
dobbelsteen1a Want to order this die on the photograph (Dutch only)? Available for free from

What do you see?

It was a great eyeopener for many attendants in the room when professor Halleh Gorashi explained what influenced her career. Gorashi arrived in The Netherlands as a refugee many years ago and was often confronted with people focussed on what she could do less than others: for example her ability of the Dutch language is not the same level as a native speaker has. What really made the difference in her career was the fact that a professor – when she was still a teacher at university – focussed on her specific talents.
Do we see a person who is shortcoming or a person who has unique added value? Daily reality shows all too often, specifically for refugees, that the ‘shortcoming’ part is accentuated and the unique added value is passing unnoticed. What a waste of talent for our organisations and for our country!
Please watch the (Dutch spoken) movie UAF made about a meeting with employers (VNO-NCW) – you can also see me in an interview for a few seconds:
If you like, join the project ‘Sustainable and Diverse’ that our company Seba has with UAF, to employ refugees and create  high-profile refugy-friendly organisations: let’s focus on talents together!