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April 4, 2019 | Bonfire Interactive
This week, like many others, a new software developer joined the Bonfire Engineering team. However, for Mohammed Hakmi, the journey to Bonfire was longer than most. He is the first skilled immigrant admitted to Canada through Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), an NGO that matches refugees with employers seeking to fill skill shortages.
In October 2011, Mohammed was forced to flee his home in Homs, Syria, where he was born and grew up. He was in his second year of university studying information technology and taking the year’s final exam when the school was bombed. When the conflict surrounding Homs escalated to the point that it was unsafe for him to remain in the city, he fled to Lebanon.
It was there that he became connected to Talent Beyond Boundaries and began the process which would eventually bring him to Canada as the newest member of the Bonfire team.
“When the crisis started, all my dreams were destroyed. My dreams are relaunched now,” says Mohammed.
Mohammed is the first candidate to move to Canada through an economic immigration pathway, a mobility solution that TBB is pioneering with Bonfire and other companies. This matches companies around the globe facing local talent shortages, with refugees who have in-demand skills but are invisible to the global workforce and often prohibited from working in host countries.
According to TBB, less than 1% of refugees access traditional resettlement, and the number of resettlement spaces globally is falling. TBB is working to connect refugees to international work opportunities to open an additional immigration pathways for refugees to rebuild their lives and careers.
Bonfire is thrilled for Mohammed to join the team, and equally excited to be part of developing a new mobility option for refugees globally.
As Bonfire’s Director of Engineering Kris Braun explains:
“Canada’s tech industry is growing at a fast rate, and we struggle to find good candidates. Refugees are trying to rebuild their lives after fleeing wars and conflicts. Part of it is to hold meaningful work. This is a win-win for us.”
And it doesn’t stop here. Bonfire is committed to developing further initiatives to promote diversity in hiring.
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“This is not a one-time thing. This is part of how we think about ourselves as an employer,” Braun notes. “When you look at the magnitude of the refugee crisis, at the number of people displaced by conflict … Mohammed is one of many people. To have an impact as a region I think we need to be thinking about multiple companies hiring multiple people.”
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