Amazon is committed to hiring at least 5,000 refugees in the U.S. by the end of 2024, as part of our ongoing efforts to support people displaced by conflict. Theseemployees will receive tailored support and resources through our Welcome Door program.
Launched earlier this year, Welcome Door provides immigration support for refugee and humanitarian-based immigrant employees. Through the program, these employees have access to several benefits and tools, such as reimbursement for certain government filing fees; a Citizenship Assistance Portal, where eligible employees receive full end-to-end support for U.S. citizenship applications; free legal resources to help navigate immigration-related questions, with the option to connect with immigration experts; and customized mentorship to support each employee’s unique situation.
The benefits and tools became available to refugees and humanitarian-based immigrant employees in the U.S. in April. In addition, the employees have access to skills training benefits, including prepaid college tuition and English as a second language (ESL) proficiency, through the Amazon Career Choice program. Career Choice is available to hourly employees after 90 days of employment with Amazon.
Meet Shahid Mohammadi
Shahid Mohammadi is an Afghan refugee who works at Amazon’s DRI1 delivery station in Providence, Rhode Island. Mohammadi was one of 76,000 Afghans evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2021 as part of Operation Allies Welcome, the largest refugee resettlement effort in the U.S. in decades. After arriving in the U.S., he lived in a refugee camp at Joint Base McGuire Dix in central New Jersey before moving into a three-bedroom apartment with five other Afghan refugees in Providence.
Speaking about his experience, Mohammadi said: “I was a soldier in the Afghan Special Forces, fighting alongside the U.S. Marines. I lost many friends and family members during the war, and when the Taliban took control after the U.S. left, there was no guarantee that I would survive. When I landed in the United States, I was so happy to finally be safe and so grateful to the people and organizations that are helping me here. They have shown me so much love and respect. But I still worry every day for my parents and five siblings who remain in Afghanistan.”
Mohammadi began working at the delivery station in June. He works as a sortation associate, where he scans items and prepares them for shipping. He is taking ESL classes three times a week to improve his English, and fellow Afghan colleagues such as Shair Ahmad, an area manager at EWR9 in Carteret, New Jersey, help interpret for Mohammadi when needed.
“I first learned about Amazon from my 11th grade teacher back in Afghanistan,” said Mohammadi. “The company sounded so interesting that it became a dream of mine to someday work there. I love everything about my current job.”
Outside work, Mohammadi likes to surf TikTok, sleep, pray, and cook traditional Uzbek meals. He hopes to build a lifelong career at Amazon while completing his university studies. His mother has always been passionate about the health care field, so he has been drawn to nursing, but his work with Amazon has sparked a strong desire to study computer science. He sees his job at Amazon as a big step toward achieving that goal.
“My dream is to one day be a software development engineer at Amazon. I am taking English classes now, and then I will begin computer programming classes through the same program. I am doing all of this so that I can support my parents and siblings back in Afghanistan, bring them here someday, and build a beautiful life for us.”
The Refugee Crisis
Currently, our world has 36 million refugees. The number of refugees has doubled over the past 10 years and will continue to increase due to climate change and natural disasters.
Amazon announced the hiring commitment on September 19 at the U.S. Business Summit on Refugees, organized by The Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent). The summit brought together a coalition of more than 100 companies that are dedicated to helping displaced people start a new life in the U.S.
Speaking at the summit, VP of Employee Relations Janet Saura touched on the challenges refugees face. “Being displaced from your homeland and having to start again somewhere is never easy, which is why we are committed to helping where we can, by providing refugees and other displaced people with access to meaningful employment, as well as immigration support, through our Welcome Door program,” said Saura. “It’s our privilege to help people make a new start.”
In response to Amazon’s commitment, Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees—a network of over 260 major businesses, including Amazon, committed to supporting refugees—said: “I am so proud of Amazon’s extraordinary leadership in supporting refugees in the most impactful way—by giving them jobs. I believe that the moment refugees get a job is the moment they stop being refugees. It’s the moment they can start to earn a living, put down roots, and regain their dignity.”
In addition to Welcome Door, Amazon’s recent efforts to support refugees and other displaced people include the following.
Support for Afghans: In the wake of the 2021 Afghanistan crisis, Amazon donated and shipped more than 925,000 essential items directly to nonprofit organizations supporting incoming refugees. In September 2021, Amazon joined Tent’s Coalition for Afghan Refugees, committing to creating economic opportunity for Afghans in the U.S. Amazon’s Global Military Affairs team has been leading the company’s efforts to offer employment opportunities to recently arrived Afghans, and they have done extensive recruiting on the U.S. military bases hosting the population.
Support for Ukrainians: Amazon has provided more than $35 million in support for Ukrainians since the onset of the crisis in late February, including giving financial donations to organizations providing critical support on the ground, launching humanitarian aid hubs in Slovakia and Poland, and donating medical supplies, hygiene kits, and school supplies. In July, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded AWS the Ukraine Peace Prize for our partnership with government officials to help keep vital government services operating, support Ukrainian customers and partners to keep their applications secure, and assist the country in preserving its digital history. Learn more about Amazon's initiatives in support of Ukraine.
Partnership with Welcome.US: Amazon has provided resettlement support for displaced people in partnership with Welcome.US, local resettlement agencies, and community organizations. Through the Welcome Essentials program, we are providing $2 million in donated products and using our logistics network to provide free delivery of essential items, timed to arrive when a family moves in to their new home. To date, this partnership has primarily served Ukrainian and Afghan refugees.
Strong relationships with refugee resettlement agencies: Amazon partners with refugee resettlement agencies, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), World Relief, HIAS, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), to match candidates with jobs. These agencies work closely with refugees to understand their backgrounds, their current situation, and their needs. They then work with Amazon to connect the refugees with jobs that are commensurate with their skills and experience. Amazon recently created a resource for refugees and resettlement agencies, called the “U.S. Guide to Hiring Refugees at Amazon.” The guide explains Amazon’s hiring and onboarding processes, career advancement opportunities, Welcome Door service offerings, and other benefits available to employees.
Amazon has tens of thousands of refugee employees globally and plans to expand the Welcome Door program to additional countries by the end of 2022. Learn more about the Welcome Door program.