Across the globe, millions of people are displaced and in need of safety and protection. Only about 1% of refugees have access to resettlement each year, leaving millions of people in limbo and a significant talent pool often untapped. Labour complementary pathways provide an additional way, beyond resettlement, for displaced people to find durable solutions in third countries through labour migration programs. In so doing, they recognize refugees’ skills, experience and talent, in addition to their need for protection. To see these successes on a larger scale, we need to make labour immigration avenues accessible to refugees. The Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility was launched and introduced Canada as its inaugural chair. The Task Force will build momentum for labour complementary pathways around the world. Leaders from Canada, Australia, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration, the International Chamber of Commerce, Fragomen, Talent Beyond Boundaries, and RefugePoint held the first meeting of the Task Force to discuss the transformative potential of refugee labour mobility initiatives.
- The Global Compact on Refugees, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2018, includes the development of complementary pathways as a core objective to increase durable solution opportunities through the admission of refugees to third countries.
- To support this goal, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and a coalition of partners launched a Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (2019–2021), which recommended establishing multi-stakeholder task forces specific to identified complementary pathways—labour, education and family reunification.
- Labour complementary pathways rely on close partnerships among governments, employers, international organizations and civil society groups, working together to identify and recruit talented refugees and to successfully settle them in their new jobs and homes.
- The 8 founding members of the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility bring a diverse range of experience with refugee resettlement and labour complementary pathways, and will be actively recruiting others with experience and interests in these initiatives to participate in Task Force activities.
- Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot helps skilled refugees overseas who can fill specific labour market needs to immigrate to Canada through existing economic programs. The pilot involves strong partnerships with a range of stakeholders, including 8 Canadian provinces and territories, communities, employers and non-government partner organizations.
- 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 utilize a labour agreement to sponsor skilled refugees to work in their business.
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