Syrian refugees register their names at the Azraq office for employment in Azraq, Jordan Credit: EPA/ Ahmad Abdo
Syrian refugees register their names at the Azraq office for employment in Azraq, Jordan Credit: EPA/ Ahmad Abdo

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have launched an "innovative" action plan to expand employment opportunities for refugees. The aim of the project is "ensuring that their economic potential is fully exploited."

The document ( which can be read here: http://www.unhcr.org/5adde9904) identifies the "challenges, opportunities, and best practices in the integration of refugees to the labour market.


 Intervention areas

 The Action Plan is composed of 10 "action areas" to support the successful labour market integration of refugees. These include initial assessment of refugees' skills and skills gaps, proper matching with employers' skills needs, guaranteeing equal opportunities as a precondition for a fair recruitment process, providing legal and administrative support to employers and guaranteeing legal certainty on the length of stay of refugee workers. The plan itself is the result of a large consultative process, which included employers, trade unions, civil society organizations, governments and refugees. For it to be successful, a large range of actors also need to be involved and well-coordinated.

 Harnessing refugees' economic potential

 "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."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. Together we can make the most of refugee skills, talent and potentials" said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD's Director for employment labour and Social Affairs. 
 

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