IKEA offers paid internships to refugees in Poland

IKEA is offering 10 paid internships to refugees in Poland. Those who complete programme – which is run in cooperation with Fundacja Ocalenia, an NGO that helps migrants and refugees – will be offered the chance of permanent employment.

“One of the key factors hindering refugees in their efforts to build a good and secure life in Poland are difficulties in finding stable employment,” explains Fundacja Ocalenie.

This can be in part due to limited language skills and lack of familiarity with the local job market. But “employers’ fears, prejudices and stereotypes…do not help” as well, says the NGO.

“People with refugee background who live in Poland have talents, knowledge and experience and, above all, are motivated to find a job,” wrote the foundation. “Often they only need support in entering the labour market and finding their place on it.”

To ease that process, the foundation has teamed up with IKEA – which has a large presence in Poland – to offer six-month internships, starting in March, at one of the Swedish firm’s Warsaw locations.

Applicants must have refugee status (or subsidiary protection, a tolerated stay permit, permission to stay for humanitarian reasons, or be in the process of applying for one of those statuses) as well as the right to reside and work in Poland. They also need to demonstrate at least “communicative” Polish.

The firm is looking for candidates to work in its logistics, sales, customer service and food departments. Those who are accepted for the program will receive not only pay of 2,646 zloty (€580) per month for 30 hours work a week, but also social benefits, free Polish courses and mentoring.

Those who complete the internship will be offered an opportunity to participate in internal recruitment processes.

Asylum applications rise in Poland amid surge of Afghan and Belarusian refugees

Last year, Poland received its highest number of asylum applications – 7,700 – since 2016. The majority of applicants were from Afghanistan and Belarus, followed by citizens of Iraq and Russia.

Decisions on granting international protection were given in response to 4,700 applications in 2021. Under half of the applicants, 2,155, were found to meet the criteria.

IKEA has become known in Poland for supporting minority rights, a stance that has at times caused controversy. In 2019, the firm fired an employee after he responded to a message encouraging staff to join an LGBT-rights campaign by quoting biblical passages suggesting that gay people deserve to be killed.

His firing drew criticism from conservative cirlces in Poland, including government ministers. Subsequently a human resources manager at IKEA was charged for violating the religious rights of the employee.

Prosecutors charge IKEA manager in Poland who fired employee for homophobic messages

Main image credit: Fundacja Ocelenie


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