Upholding regular employment and decent jobs for migrants
Public authorities, social and economic partners and civil society to make integration happen
Maria Koleva, Brussels
7 March, 2018
Encouraging entrepreneurship amongst migrants, upholding regular work occupation and decent jobs, preventing exploitation and tackling discrimination, validation and development of skills, were among the themes in the heart of this year's European Migration Forum. This event took place at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) building in Brussels on 6 and 7 March and was a vibrant meeting place for over 120 civil society organisations from across the EU, but also people from local and regional authorities, member countries and EU institutions. Eight were altogether the workshops where using the participatory method all attendees had the chance to discuss ideas on how migrants can be better included in the labour market. For fourth consecutive year the forum was organised by the Commission and the EESC.Statistics show that in 2016 the unemployment rate for migrants born outside the EU was 16.2%, as compared to 7.8% for the native-born population. According to experts, “the skills and qualifications of third-country migrants, in particular women, are greatly underused in local labour markets across the EU.”Accenting that at a moment when the migration situation at the EU external borders has started to stabilise, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos pointed out the main topic of the forum - integration in the labour market is particularly timely. Last May, the Commission kicked off the initiative “Employers together for Integration” and in December 2017 signed a “European Partnership for Integration” with the European social and economic partners.Commissioner Avramopoulos asserted that public authorities at national, regional and local level, social and economic partners and of course civil society organisations have to join forces to make integration happen, starting from the labour market.In his intervention, Georges Dassis, EESC President, underlined that migration must be seen as an investment for the future The majority of migrants have fled persecution, wars and oppressive regimes and now they are trying to build a life for themselves in Europe. They deserve a new life and that's why we must always promote solidarity and help them achieve normalcy in their lives - among other things, by integrating them into the labour market, he stressed. Again on migration, but with focus on how to end the mistreatment of migrants and refugees stranded in Libya, was the discussion on 5 March across the street at the EP by lawmakers of LIBE and AFET committees, members of the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries and UNHCR, Commission and External Action Service representatives. It was emphasised that the joint Task Force between EU, AU and UN set up last November was a very important step in light of the dramatic situation of migrants in Libya. From UNHCR perspective, about 550,000 are the people of concern, divided into three categories: 46,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers, 180,000 internally displaced persons and 340,000 returnees.
Photo: Maria Koleva
Needs such as housing and access to healthcare also have to be ensured, said the participants at the workshop on 'Integration in the labour market through a stronger cooperation'.