Jordan, Lebanon


Refugees in Donor Countries

Type of Investment


Project Stage
Length of Investment


Investment Overview

GIF’s investment of $230,000 was used to enable TBB to deploy their labour mobility solution by securing skilled employment and legal work permits in Canada and Australia for refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon. This grant is concluded and operated from 2017-2019.


The Development Challenge

With more than 65 million people forcibly displaced and 21 million refugees outside their home countries, hundreds of thousands of talented, educated, and skilled individuals are currently prohibited from working in the countries where they have sought refuge. At the same time, more than 40% of employers around the world report that they face significant skill gaps, and experts project that labour shortages will lead to a $10 trillion loss in GDP globally between 2020 and 2030. To date, there has not been an effective effort to connect this talent pool to private sector employers who are interested in recruiting globally.


The Innovation

Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is demonstrating the hidden potential that the refugee talent pool offers when it comes to filling global skill gaps. Although aiding refugees by helping them to find employment has been the subject of academic writing for years, TBB is the first and only organisation that is working with the private sector to establish a clear pathway. TBB’s goal is to place refugees in jobs in stable countries around the world where they can regain their self-reliance through private sector employment. With funding from the State Department, TBB has built a Talent Catalog, which includes 7,000 records with information about refugees’ work history and skills, and has established corporate partnerships with employers in Canada and Australia.


Our Investment

GIF’s investment in TBB aimed to place 20 refugees located in Jordan and/or Lebanon in skilled employment and to secure legal work permits and visas for them in Canada and Australia. Our investment also aimed to generate process maps and related documentation for scaling up the labour mobility model for refugees, as well as to disseminate evidence and practical learnings on labour mobility for refugees.


Investment Objective

Catalyse labour mobility and economic self-sufficiency solutions for refugees which are viable, market-driven, and cost-effective through securing skilled employment for 20 target beneficiaries from Jordan and/or Lebanon, generating process maps and documentation on how to implement and scale labour mobility models for refugees, and generating and disseminating evidence on the approach.


Why we invested

An innovative idea and model that addresses a big issue in global development.

High impact for GIF’s target beneficiaries.
There are very few opportunities that leverage private sector engagement, and for those that do exist, there is limited funding.

A good opportunity to engage in creating new migration corridors and potentially attract new players to help address refugee crises.

A strong and well-connected team.


Talent Beyond Boundaries in numbers


GIF Investment

$8.452 trillion

In lost revenue by 2030 due to skills gap in global economy


Talent Beyond Boundaries Impact Brief

Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is an organisation seeking to demonstrate that the hidden refugee talent pool offers a resource employers can use to fill skill gaps. While the global skills gap will cost the global economy $8.452 trillion in lost revenue by 2030, there are, for instance, five million Syrian refugees, many of them highly skilled, living in refugee camps or urban settings with limited or no prospects of local employment. Shortages are especially acute in industries experiencing rapid growth or change and in rural communities that need to keep local industries afloat.

TBB provides an alternative solution by increasing access to existing labour mobility pathways and creating new pathways for refugees to use to migrate for work. This allows for a transformative change to their income and ability to support family members (including extended family members through remittances) while also making an economic contribution to the communities into which they move.

TBB overcomes informational, legal, and financial barriers that prevent skilled refugees from filling vacancies in receiving countries, including Canada, Australia, and the UK. By moving to countries where their skills can be put to use, refugees and their families can regularise their legal status, feel safer, and experience a significant gain in income, wellbeing, and safety.

Use of GIF Funds

GIF’s investment of $230,000 was used to enable TBB to deploy this labour mobility solution by securing skilled employment and legal work permits in Canada and Australia for refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon. It also enabled TBB to map processes and disseminate practical learning to demonstrate the viability of labour mobility and encourage further uptake.

Impact to Date

With GIF’s grant support, TBB made impressive strides towards making labour mobility pathways a viable solution for displaced people. TBB’s Talent Catalog, a database of refugees’ education, skills, and work histories, has more than 22,000 profiles of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon that more than 100 employers can access. At the conclusion of GIF’s involvement in June 2020, 39 TBB candidates had received job offers (36 men and three women). Of these candidates, 15 had relocated with their families to Canada, Australia, and the UK, with the other 24 remaining in the visa process. When accounting for family members, a total of 39 people had moved and 82 people were waiting for visas, representing a total of 143 people who achieved a migration solution from TBB’s programme up to June 2020 . Given applicants with job offers are able to migrate with family members, the benefits of the programme in terms of providing a migration solution and access to rights were gender balanced.

Due to GIF’s support, TBB was able to develop relationships with the governments of Australia and Canada and develop pilot programmes. Under the Australian pilot programme, TBB worked with participating businesses to sponsor TBB candidates on Temporary Skills Shortage visas. In situations when a TBB candidate had a job offer but could not meet the stringent visa criteria due to issues such as language or work experience, the government offered to support the use of a limited number of Global Special Humanitarian Programme visas. Up to 2020, under the Australian programme, 16 refugees had secured job offers with eight arriving with their families and beginning work. When accounting for family members, 20 people in total had benefited from TBB’s partnership with the Australian government.

As part of their partnership with the government of Canada, TBB developed The Economic Mobility Pathways Project (EMPP). Up to 2020, 35 refugees had received job offers in Canada (2 from Jordan and Lebanon and 13 from Kenya), and of these, when accounting for family members, 15 people had already relocated and were benefiting from TBB’s partnership with the Canadian government.

Following successful completion of these initial pilots, Australia announced the establishment of a Skilled Refugee Pilot for 100 refugees and their families in February 2020, and in June 2020, Canada committed to expanding its EMPP for up to 500 refugee applicants over the next two years. Both programmes sit within the economic migration programmes of the respective countries. In addition to these two country partnerships, the UK has committed to working with TBB on ways to make the UK tier 2 skilled visa system accessible to refugees.

A survey conducted with 15 TBB candidates relocated to Canada, UK, and Australia found that the average annual salary was $40,000 with 60% of the relocated candidates sending remittances to their families in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or elsewhere.

TBB has also made ripples in the global policy landscape. In 2018, TBB secured commitments in the Global Compact on Refugees and its three-year strategy, as well as the Global Compact on Migration, that recognise labour mobility for refugees and vulnerable migrants as a priority for states around the world. This was followed by the release of a white paper, The Promise of Labour Mobility, produced with GIF funding and launched at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019. Moreover, alongside UNHCR, TBB is also central to plans for a new Global Taskforce for Refugee Labour Mobility to further develop and promote labour mobility as an exciting innovation with the potential to greatly contribute to the alleviation of the refugee crisis.

Click here to read Talent Beyond Boundaries' Completion Assessment.