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“Believing it works for me it will work for others, too” – RefugeesWork

We´re pleased to present you one of the greatest SIA Austria winners of 2016, who moreover won several grants like Get active, European Youth Award and a listing on Forbes 30 under 30, European Youth […]

We´re pleased to present you one of the greatest SIA Austria winners of 2016, who moreover won several grants like Get activeEuropean Youth Award and a listing on Forbes 30 under 30, European Youth Award. A group of Austrian social entrepreneurs knew exactly what to do in terms of effective integration of refugees in the Austrian society! This is not only a success story of RefugeesWork.at, but about the user and its experience with the platform!

The social entrepreneurs of RefugeesWork.at aimed to build an easy-to-use online platform to help refugees find legal working and education opportunities which are in line with their skills – and they truly succeeded! To enable closer insights of this project, which was launched in the summer 2016, we are pleased to present to you an interview with Ali Almoualem from Syria, who was lucky in finding the right job through the platform and who was willing to share his story with us!


Dear Ali, thanks for taking the time for us today! We’re interested in your story, could you briefly introduce yourself – where you come from and what your occupation is? 

My name is Ali, I come from Syria, and I am 27 years old.
I have been in Vienna since October 2014. I studied Business Information Technology BIT in Syria.
During my studies I worked for 4 years as IT support at a big company in Damascus.
At that time I was very happy and I have got good experiences which helped me to start my new life here in Austria. Now I work at Xerox Austria as a Support Analyst.


Please give us a brief description how you got to Austria and how the public services supported you to make your first steps here.

In 2014 I had to leave Syria, because I was called to the military service and I didn’t want to be part of the conflict, so I decided to flee to Europe. I have chosen to stay in Austria because I heard and read about it, I liked the life style and the various opportunities to continue either my studies or my career.

When I arrived in Austria I was depressed: new language, new culture and a new beginning almost from the scratch. What made it even harder for me were the people I met – many people who have been living in Austria for years.
They all told me it is very hard to get a job in my fields right now. I should´ve worked anything at the beginning till I learn the language and get to know how it works then.
I didn’t listen to them because I knew myself better than everyone else, and I knew that IT is IT everywhere.
The AMS (labor bureau) didn’t actually help that much, they helped me only with a German course (A2). The other courses (A1, B1) were from the ÖIF.
My consultant at the AMS did not know that much about IT, so I had to look for another way by myself.


What was your experience with using the platform RefugeesWork? Which services did you enjoy on it?

I started to look for a job about a year ago on the popular job platforms, such as Karriere, Hokify… also on the AMS website.

Then I heard about RefugeesWork.at from a friend. At that time, there were no jobs on it, it was in the Beta phase, only a registration was available.

I was interested in the idea, because it sounded good to me as a refugee. Two months later the website started to offer some jobs. I applied for the first job  which was at the mobile service provider „Drei“, and I got my first job interview in Austria.

Even though it didn’t work out I was really happy and got my power back, because it was the first job interview after about 15 job application rejections.

A big thanks goes to the RefugeesWork team, I have a job now!

I like the search engine on the platform, the filtration works good, I can choose my language level, in which state I want to work and in which fields do I look for a job.

My favorite service is the news broadcasting over Telegram. This is really a good idea because no one has to login to websites in order to get news. This has become an old fashioned way, we get the news nowadays directly on our smartphones as notifications!


Were there many firms that suited to your profile? How was the interaction with them?
I applied for more than 20 times and the only interviews that I had were through RefugeesWork.

The interaction with the firms was great: I always got a reply – either a rejection or an interview invitation, unlike other platforms where I several times got no reply at all.

What I also like about the platform is that there were/are not only small firms but also the big ones such as (Drei, Xerox, Allianz…) which look for employees in many different fields.


Would or did you recommend the platform to others and why?

I had 5 job interviews before I found the one at Xerox, all of them were through RefugeesWork, so I will indeed recommend RW to others. Because I believe it worked for me and will work for others.
Another important thing about RW is that the firms, which are looking out for employees through this platform, know already that newcomers have some language difficulties and so on, and this is a thing that I appreciate!


Perfect, Ali! We really appreciate you were sharing your experiences with us, thanks once again and all the best!

Thank you for sharing the good experiences, and I hope I helped!

Refugeeswork.at has yet won several prizes and grants such as Get activeEuropean Youth Award, Social Impact Award and a listing on Forbes 30 under 30, European Youth Award.

They have an active number of +300 employers and +6000 refugees using the platform. Since Autumn 2016 RefugeesWork.at has conveyed over 70 jobs, amongst Ali was one of them.


Author: Tizian Müllritter

Proof-Reading: Jakob Detering

Global-Editing: Tizian Müllritter