Last Friday, United States President Trump issued an Executive Order which suspended entry for all refugees into the US for 120 days and also placed a 90-day ban on entry for visa and greencard holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Since this order was originally issued, US citizens protested at local airports, and certain portions of the order were even blocked by a ruling at a federal court in New York City Saturday evening.
Top executives at Microsoft, meanwhile, commented the presidential order, and on Saturday addressed their concerns in a LinkedIn post. On Sunday, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn broke silence on the issue and announced that it would be expanding the "Welcome Talent" refugee support program.
Sunday's LinkedIn blog post addressed how the "Welcome Talent" refugee support program, and LinkedIn, is committed to creating economic opportunity for all members of the global workforce, regardless of country of origin or religious belief. The business and employment-oriented social networking service made note that these values are which America were founded on, and that they lead with opportunity and help newly settled refugees find economic livelihood.
Consistent with these beliefs, we are accelerating pre-existing plans to expand our refugee program to the U.S. to support refugees already residing in this country. In partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), this week we will start providing financial resources and training to IRC staff to help newly settled refugees more quickly find jobs that leverage the skills they are bringing into the U.S. economy. More specifically, LinkedIn’s support will help the IRC implement economic empowerment programs in its 30 U.S. offices to help their clients achieve their ultimate goal of economic self-sufficiency.
LinkedIn has a unique opportunity to use our platform to help especially skilled refugees find economic opportunity more quickly. And, we are seeing firsthand the economic contribution and success they are having in their new countries. Similarly, we know that LinkedIn is a stronger and better company because of the diversity of our workforce. We are grateful to have world class talent from these recently affected countries working for us and will do everything in our power to protect their status.
In related news, Microsoft has revised their original statement on the executive order. According to The Seattle Times, Microsoft believes that the executive order is "misguided and a fundamental step backward." The company issued the following statement via a spokesman.
"We believe the executive order is misguided and a fundamental step backwards... There are more effective ways to protect public safety without creating so much collateral damage to the country’s reputation and values."
LinkedIn's Welcome Talent" refugee support program, nonetheless, launched as a pilot in February of 2016 with the goal of connecting refugees to internships in Sweden and encouraging employers to post opportunities for refugees on LinkedIn. During the pilot, LinkedIn partnered with more than 50 companies and helped roughly 2,000 refugees like Marwan and Jack. And since then, the program even expanded to Canada with collaboration with Canadian nonprofits like Refugee Career Jumpstart Project and COSTI.