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Starbucks Will Hire 2,500 Refugees in Europe by 2022


In 2016, more than 370,000 migrants and refugees made their way to Europe, many of them embarking on the dangerous journey across the choppy Mediterranean Sea on rafts and small boats.

But even for those who successfully make their way to countries like the UK, France, and Germany, a different struggle begins almost immediately: the job search. 

Take Action: Do you stand #WithRefugees?

Now, one company is making this adjustment a little bit easier for a small number of refugees. On Tuesday, Starbucks, the international coffee chain with a net worth of $85 billion, announced that it plans to hire 2,500 refugees by 2022 in eight European countries: the UK, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. 

The announcement is in keeping with a larger initiative to hire 10,000 refugees in 75 countries over the next five years. 

According to Reuters, the announcement failed to spark controversy in Europe the way it did in the United States in January, “with only a handful of people on Twitter voicing their disapproval or support of the Europe hires.”

Read More: Starbucks Is Giving Free Legal Advice on Immigration to All of Its Employees

When the company announced its 10,000-refugee hiring plan in January of this year, detractors of the policy took to Twitter with the hashtag #AmericaFirst, popularized by the Trump Administration. 

This backlash occurred despite the fact that the refugees hired in the United States will only account for a miniscule proportion of the company’s more than 150,000 US employees. 

In Europe, the 2,500 refugees hired over the next five years will make up about 8% of the company’s European workforce of 30,000. 

The deployment of refugees to various European stores will be done in collaboration with several non-profit organizations that work with refugees, including the International Rescue Committee and the UK’s Refugee Council. 

Read More: 4 Companies Just Stepped Up in a Major Way to Help Refugees and Immigrants

Starbucks is not the first company to hire refugees. Multinational companies from Chobani to IKEA have stepped up to create job opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable populations. 

Other companies have also backed refugees in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban that would have blocked all refugee resettlement for 120 days and put an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and is now making its way through the courts. 

Those companies include ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, as well as the home-sharing platform Airbnb. 

By hiring refugees, Starbucks may also be making a savvy business decision. A new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that refugees are actually a boon for the economy

Perhaps Starbucks’ initiative will inspire other multinational companies to exert their massive influence to provide a window of opportunity for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized individuals.