A Diminishing Workforce Solution: Remote Refugee Employment

In his December 18 article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Demographic Threat To America’s Jobs Boom,” Greg Ip reported that “the U.S. is losing its demographic advantage over other countries.” The gist of his well-researched concern is that the U.S. “will run out of people to join the workforce,” that jobs are being created faster than our population is growing.

In fact, our nation’s fertility rate is now the lowest on record, Ip reports. Between 2010 and 2018, there were three million fewer births than the Census Bureau projected in 2008. Initially, analysts thought the decline was due to the so-called Great Recession of 2007 and 2008, and that births would increase as people felt more economically secure. That hasn’t happened. Per Mark Mather, with the Population Reference Bureau, “We don’t expect to see a bounce back any time soon.”

Our inflow of immigrants has also decreased to near historic lows. Although many blame the policies of the Trump administration, Ip reports that the immigrant population began to slow before he took office. The reasons why have yet to be determined.

One way to fill the gap between available jobs and a diminishing U.S. workforce is by outsourcing work that can be done remotely to people outside the U.S. Earlier this year, Amplio Ventures launched an initiative that would provide capital for businesses that both train and offer remote employment opportunities to refugees living in host countries. Our reasons for this, our initial endeavor, included:

· Refugees are, with few exceptions, not allowed to compete for jobs within the local economy of a host country. They survive on food vouchers, the benevolence of others and “informal” employment opportunities.

· Host countries are not as sensitive about remote employment for refugees, often welcoming these opportunities.

· The average stint for refugee displacement is now 26 years, creating a severe financial strain on both the host country and the refugee.

· Training for remote employment opportunities is portable and can follow refugees when and where they relocate—even when returning to their homelands.

We can now add to our list the need for skilled workers to fuel the U.S. economy in both the near and long term.

Thanks to a number of collaborative technologies, companies are able to tap dispersed workforces from all over the globe. The apt and willing refugee workforce is primed to join this growing population of remote employees.

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