Generous but ‘premature’ job offers for Ukrainian refugees

The announcement is impressive: the Transdev group, which operates 170 transport networks in France, is offering at least 1,000 jobs for bus drivers or mechanics to Ukrainians who have taken refuge in France. Initiatives in this direction are multiplying.

→ READ. How is the reception of Ukrainian refugees organized in France?

“Employer offers range from one to several thousand jobs throughout France and cover the entire spectrum of occupations, from plant operator to commercial consultant,” sums up Thibaut Guillui, High Commissioner for Employment and Business Obligations, who oversees the Internet portal “Les entreprises s’engage” (1).

It was on this website that the Ministry of Labor on March 17 opened a tab dedicated to the reception of Ukrainian refugees. Since Russia started the war on February 24, almost 30,000 people have arrived in France from Ukraine (as of March 24). The temporary protection scheme they enjoy allows them to register with Pôle Employ and work.

Barriers to employment

“There is an undeniable desire among companies to mobilize about this, and this is good news,” welcomes Didier Lechy, head of the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII). However, he is surprised On the Form of Fugitive Business and French Society. Indeed, 80% of displaced persons in France are women and children. Their priority is to find peace before returning to Ukraine as soon as possible. »

Therefore, for Didier Lesha, talk about the economic integration of Ukrainians “premature”. “It would mean integrating the idea of ​​a long stay in France, which implies the defeat of their country. There’s a psychological step there that they’re not ready to take right away.” he adds, a list of barriers related to language, skills, and many preliminary issues that need to be addressed before talking about employment: access to housing, child care, etc.

Anticipate Requests

Activists who are mobilizing say they recognize the complexity of the situation and its share of uncertainty. “People will not necessarily have priority in their jobs after fleeing a country at war,” thus recognized in the press release of the Federation of Companies for Integration (FEI), which offers 10,000 jobs throughout the territory (temporary work, maintenance of green spaces, etc.). “It’s not about forcing someone says its vice president Celine Courtois, but we believe that work is a way to integrate, regardless of the length of stay in France. We want to be able to answer these requests. »

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Waiting is also a strategy stated in the relevant ministries. “All Ukrainians in France do not project themselves in the same way, recognizes Thibault Guillui. Some are already asking us questions about the job and we want to be ready to answer, having previously outlined all the possibilities. » And by organizing coordination between companies, Pôle emploi and ministries (in particular, labour, housing, social affairs). Not forgetting the reception chambers located in each prefecture. With logical priority: “We are going to strengthen the existing offer of foreign language teaching, this is a strong expectation of the companies”, describes Thibault Guillui.

Internal Skills

Some already claim certain practices. “In addition to our expertise in social support, we support refugees for five to six years,” explains Celine Courtois FEI. To this should be added internal centers for teaching French as a foreign language, training and integration courses, etc. Housing and child care facilities are managed by local partnerships (social action centers, city halls, etc.).

For its part, Transdev will work with non-governmental organizations to establish links with Ukrainian refugees. After learning some French and then a few months of practice, Édouard Henault, managing director of the group in France, judged “these people can be integrated into our workforce within twelve to twenty-four months.”

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