Refugees do not want to work
Despite the many job fairs organized for refugees. Refugees do not want to work in Bulgaria because they find the salaries low. “We have organized at least 15 job fairs [in 2014] where various job opportunities have been offered, but the jobs offered – you know what they are like – tailors, farmers, agricultural work, work in small production warehouses, and on farmlands. The result is that they work for 10 days and give up.”, says the former Director of the refugee reception centre in Voenna Rampa Pepi Dzhurenov. “The salaries vary between 600-700 leva, including induction training, housing, food. But they don’t feel like starting at all”, he continues.
Refugees need jobs
In the past five years more than 250 refugees have participated in 5 job fairs and one third of them have been hired, according to UNHCR data, based on information by the main organizations offering employment counselling services, Caritas Sofia and the Bulgarian Red Cross. For the same period of time more than 1700 refugees have taken part in Bulgarian language classes which shows high interest on the part of refugees to remain in the country and find their way in it. While it is true that most of the jobs offered are low-skilled, a report on refugee skill sets from 2017 commissioned by UNHCR shows that “most asylum seekers and refugees are seeking work in the area of their expertise as there was a great overlap of desired positions and previous experience”. These areas included construction, food preparation, transport, textile Industry, factory work, sales and beauty services. Furthermore, the report found that in the new circumstances, refugees “displayed a great willingness to accept work that is more unique and common to Bulgaria such as factory work, translation services for refugee-oriented NGOs and call centres with projects in the Middle East”.
About 70 companies have offered jobs to refugees in the past few years, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, their number has decreased and the requirements, especially for Bulgarian language knowledge, have increased. In their search for talents several companies offer accommodation, especially outside Sofia, and in rare cases Bulgarian language classes with the help of NG...
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