The Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility
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- About the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility
- What we want to achieve
- Upcoming meetings and events
- Refugee labour mobility in action
- Get involved
About the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility
In response to the global refugee crisis, United Nations (UN) member states adopted the Global Compact on Refugees in 2018. One of the compact’s key objectives is to expand refugee access to third-country solutions.
To help spur innovation and growth, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and a coalition of partners launched a three-year strategy on resettlement and complementary pathways. The strategy recommended creating task forces for each complementary pathway, including one for refugee labour mobility.
Labour complementary pathways create other ways for refugees to find durable solutions in third countries, outside of traditional resettlement programs.
Labour complementary pathways:
- help displaced people move safely to third countries through regular labour or economic migration programs
- recognize refugees’ skills, abilities and talents, as well as their need for protection
- show how refugees contribute to their new countries, communities and workplaces
- give employers access to a new talent pool to fill job openings
This Global Task Force is made up of members who actively support the growth and implementation of labour complementary pathways, including
- international organizations
- refugee representatives
- the international business community and
- civil society organizations
The founding members of the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility are:
Government of Canada
Canada has a proud and long-standing tradition of responding to the needs of vulnerable people. Through our engagement on the Global Compact on Refugees, we committed to exploring the use of complementary pathways to supplement traditional resettlement pathways.
Our refugee labour mobility initiative – the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) – combines refugee resettlement and economic immigration. The EMPP helps
- skilled refugees and their families immigrate to Canada through existing economic programs
- employers access a new pool of skilled workers to fill job openings
In implementing the EMPP, we have partnered with a number of stakeholders, including
- Canadian provinces, territories, and communities
- International Organization on Migration
- non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
As Chair of the new Global Task Force for the next 2 years, Canada will:
- work with international partners to help lay the foundations to grow and scale up labour complementary pathway initiatives worldwide
- integrate refugee voices and perspectives into the design and implementation of all Global Task Force initiatives
United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
UNHCR protects people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. UNHCR works in over 130 countries, protecting millions of people by responding with life-saving support, safeguarding fundamental human rights and helping them build a better future.
UNHCR works closely with States, partners, employers and other key actors to advance labour mobility opportunities globally, in line with the Global Compact on Refugees objectives of expanding third-country solutions, easing pressure on host states and enhancing refugee-self-reliance.
As a member of the Global Task Force, UNHCR aims to:
- work together with other global task force members to support the expansion of labour complementary pathways around the world in full compliance with the Global Compact on Refugee and the three-year strategy objectives
- seek to encourage more international partners and key stakeholders to join the Global Task Force
- ensure the meaningful participation of refugees in the design and implementation of labour complementary pathways
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
As the leading international organization for migration, IOM supports the objective of enhancing the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration and that of strengthening international cooperation and global partnerships in line with the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. IOM has extensive policy expertise and long-standing operational experience in facilitating labour mobility pathways and supporting resettlement and regular immigration programmes. IOM’s support within those programmes is rights-based and ranges from providing pre-departure orientation, migrant health assessments, visa facilitation, movement support to technical assistances in facilitating ethical recruitment, skills development and matching and integration of migrants.
IOM is currently applying its experience with regular labour mobility pathways to an EU-funded ‘Displaced Talent 4 Europe (DT4E)’ project that IOM implements in partnership with Talent Beyond Boundaries and Fragomen. The DT4E project will enable people in need of international protection in Jordan and Lebanon to connect with employers and sustainably integrate into the labour market in Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The project will set the foundations for displaced talent mobility schemes by
- testing complementary migration pathways
- documenting best practices
- identifying areas for policy reform, and
- engaging the private sector as well as refugee-serving organizations
Australia has a long tradition of resettling refugees and people in humanitarian need from around the world and is one of the world’s most generous contributors to international refugee resettlement efforts, successfully settling more than 920,000 refugees and others in humanitarian need since the end of the Second World War.
Australia is pleased to support, as a member of the new Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility, global efforts to increase refugee access to protection through labour complementary pathways.
The Australian Government, working in collaboration with Talent Beyond Boundaries, is piloting a program aimed at providing skilled refugees and their families with a pathway to live and work in Australia. Under this pilot program, launched in July 2021, endorsed Australian businesses will be able to utilise a Labour Agreement to sponsor skilled refugees to work in their business. Learn more about the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement program pilot.
Talent Beyond Boundaries
Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is the first organization in the world to pioneer talent mobility for refugees. TBB aims to build a world where displaced people can move internationally for work; leveraging their professional skills to secure their futures.
TBB works to:
Connect employers with displaced talent
TBB matches skilled refugees with companies in need of their skills. Employers gain valuable talent and displaced people have a chance to rebuild their careers and lives.
Open migration pathways
TBB works directly with governments to open skilled migration pathways for refugees in ways that benefit individuals, family members, communities, and the economy.
Scale displaced talent mobility
TBB collaborates with others and shares its learnings so that more people can access the pathways they’re opening and replicate this model around the world.
RefugePoint advances lasting solutions for at-risk refugees and supports the humanitarian community to do the same.
RefugePoint envisions an inclusive world where refugees are supported to rebuild their lives, reach their full potential, and contribute to their communities. To achieve this vision, RefugePoint’s strategy focuses on supporting refugees through two core programmatic areas: self-reliance, and resettlement and other pathways to safety.
Through its self-reliance programming, RefugePoint helps refugees improve their lives and increase their self-reliance in the countries to which they flee. Through its programming related to resettlement and other pathways to safety, RefugePoint helps refugees legally relocate to safe countries where they can rebuild their lives.
Since it was founded in 2005, RefugePoint has directly helped more than 100,000 refugees to pathways to relocate to safety through resettlement, family reunification, work visas, and education visas. Through its self-reliance, field-building and systems change activities, RefugePoint’s work has benefitted tens of thousands more.
International Chamber of Commerce
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries. ICC’s core mission is to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, ICC promotes international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Its members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.
Fragomen is recognized as the world’s leading corporate immigration services provider and adviser. With more than 4,800 immigration professionals and staff located across Canada, the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA, the firm supports immigration into over 170 jurisdictions worldwide.
Fragomen has been providing immigration services exclusively for more than 70 years and is experienced with all aspects of global migration, including strategic planning, compliance, government relations, and local government requirements and processing. The firm also has a long history of and experience with providing support in the humanitarian relief area of immigration law.
As part of the Global Task Force, Fragomen will provide strategic advice regarding legal pathways open to skilled refugees and assist refugees with the legal processes that will change their lives. It will also collaborate closely with other members of the task force to build recognition of this initiative by encouraging sovereign states to make available legal pathways and for employers seeking to source skilled workers. Its goal is to contribute to finding durable solutions for many refugees that might otherwise not be available.
Mission, guiding principles and priorities
Our mission is to engage with stakeholders around the world to expand refugee access to third-country solutions through labour complementary pathways.
We will achieve this through
- discussion with stakeholders who support these initiatives
- technical advice and support to
- help new initiatives take root and grow
- identify ways to improve and scale up existing programs
We also recognize that:
- labour complementary pathways are new and at an early stage of adoption and implementation
- there is no set model
- initiatives to date are modest in size and scope, but growing as we learn how to scale
Our guiding principles in promoting the labour complementary pathway worldwide are:
Labour complementary pathway initiatives are in addition to existing resettlement commitments. They expand access to protection for refugees in third countries.
- Durable solutions
Labour complementary pathway initiatives should offer
- avenues to permanent protection for refugees and their families and
- support their integration into their new communities
Labour complementary pathway initiatives should be designed and implemented in a way that safeguards the rights and protection needs of refugees and their families.
- Labour market needs
Labour complementary pathway initiatives should be designed in a way that meets labour market needs of the receiving country to increase their scalability and longevity.
Our key priorities are
- Engage and share information and technical advice with countries to increase participation in the labour complementary pathway.
- Advocate for hiring refugees in the private sector, including through industry and sector-specific initiatives.
- Gain a better understanding of what is needed to scale initiatives globally by
- identifying and exploring policy and operational opportunities and challenges
- conducting research
As Chair of the Global Task Force for the next 2 years, Canada will also prioritize:
- Integrating refugee voices and perspectives into the design and implementation of all Global Task Force initiatives. This will include working with refugees who have lived experience.
- Working with international partners to help lay the foundations to grow and scale up labour complementary pathway initiatives worldwide.
What we want to achieve
- Encourage more global stakeholders to participate in refugee labour mobility initiatives
The more others participate in these initiatives, the more information we’ll have to feed back into program design, innovation and improvement.
- Promote an in-depth understanding of what works well and what improvements are needed
The success of our work will be based on the participation and support from the many stakeholders (states, corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and refugees)
- who support labour complementary pathways, and
- whose experience and lessons learned will be crucial to improving programming around the world
Upcoming meetings and events
We will hold meetings and events throughout the year. We’re developing a calendar of events, which we’ll share when it’s available.
Refugee labour mobility in action
Labour complementary pathway initiatives have the potential to be transformative for everyone involved.
- A winning solution for refugees and Canadian employers takes root in Pictou County (UNHCR)
- The promise of labour mobility (Talent Beyond Boundaries)
- Syrian refugee nurse gets work opportunity to travel to UK (UNHCR)
- Un concepteur de logiciels syrien démarre une nouvelle vie au Canada (available in French only) (UNHCR)
- Finding hope: where trust overcame fear of disappointment (Talent Beyond Boundaries)
- Passion and persistence brought Maryam from Syria to Nova Scotia (Talent Beyond Boundaries)
- My “beyond boundaries family”: Ali’s journey with TBB (Talent Beyond Boundaries)
- Derar: My journey from Syria to Australia (Talent Beyond Boundaries)
- Syrian chef savours new role in Paramount kitchen (UNHCR)
- Software developer starts new life as Canadian skilled worker (UNHCR)
We’ll reach out to global stakeholders (governments, business organizations and civil society organizations) to join us in promoting labour complementary pathway initiatives.
Contact the Global Task Force at IRCC.TaskforceRLM-MTRAlliance.IRCC@cic.gc.ca if you have questions or want to share your thoughts.
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