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UN plan to boost refugee employment

2 May 20180 comments

The UN Refugee Agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have launched today an action plan to improve employment opportunities for refugees.

The plan not only identifies the challenges, opportunities and best practices in the integration of refugees to the labour market, but also offers a list of concrete actions to support the successful employment of refugees.

It is planned to be rolled out in Europe initially and the across the globe.

“This Action Plan shows the way forward to ensure that the economic potential of refugees is fully harnessed, contributing to their social integration and offering a win-win situation to refugees, employers and host communities,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk this week.

“Harnessing the full potential of refugees in receiving economies and societies requires a whole of government approach in close partnership with the civil society. Employers can and should play a central role in this process, but need to be supported by sound policy and actions from other stakeholders, including at the local level,” he said.

“Together we can make the most of refugee skills, talent and potentials.”

For this initiative to succeed, a large range of well-coordinated actors need to be involved.

The joint plan itself is the result of a large consultative process, which included employers, trade unions, civil society organisations, governments and refugees.

The plan identifies action areas that are key to ensure the successful labour market integration of refugees, including: the initial stock-taking of refugees’ skills and the identification of possible skills gaps; the matching of refugees’ skills with employers’ labour needs; and, the steps needed to ensure equal opportunities and to prepare the work place to welcome and integrate new refugee colleagues.

It also identifies the need to support employers who have to navigate the administrative framework regarding work rights of refugees and the need for sufficient legal certainty on the length of stay of refugee workers and for a sustainable model of refugee employment.

“This Action Plan fully supports a new approach, whereby refugees would be included in the communities from the very start, gain access to jobs and become self-reliant, contributing to local economies and to the development of host communities,” Mr Türk said.




Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist