Addressing the Situation of Refugees and Migrants in the World of Work

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Delegates representing the United Nations International Organization for Migration discuss the importance of supporting refugees by providing them with the ample employment opportunity through a series of potential solutions.

Exploitation of migrants is an issue rising in importance amongst the global community. Most often refugees and asylum seekers migrate to foreign countries end up having to carry out the ‘3D’ jobs- dirty, dangerous ad difficult – that are shunned by the local population. These kind of jobs typically include construction, manufacturing, services, plantation and agricultural sector.

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They’re usually underpaid and insecure at best. Since these migrants aren’t at a liberty to pick and choose. Owing to their desperate and vulnerable situation, only they will be willing enough to shoulder these apparently degrading occupations.

Lack of legal documentation is a primary contributor to not being able to get hold of a suitable, respectable occupation. Almost all workplaces demand that this paperwork be presented as they confirm a person’s eligibility and capability to handle a certain type of work while they offer additional benefits like training, maintaining standards and most importantly employee safety.

Delegate of Spain says, “One thing I believe that the Spanish Government will do is go out of the way to do, is to give people a second chance at a proper life. That is why we will be providing legal paperwork for refugees to come and live in Spain and acquire employment here.”

Although suitable measures to facilitate the provision of legal documentation for refugees is being discussed at present, no lasting steps have been taken as of yet.

Spain says, “We are still planning on a proper eligibility process for refugees to come into our country and engage legally in employment”.

Another challenge migrant employees have to face is being subjected to poor standards of working conditions. These include inadequate workplace conditions, overwork, and poor wages, lack of safety and security precautions and inability to voice your opinions or thoughts. Poor working conditions can damage your health and put your safety at risk. In order to support an effective and sturdy labour force, it is essential to at least maintain a minimal standard of working conditions.

According to The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations, one has the right to space, cleanliness, proper health facilities and adequate salaries.

Delegate of Kazakhstan says, “They are people. It is the government’s responsibility to cater to their needs and provide them suitable jobs that they are capable of doing.”

When deliberating alternative engagements, a suggestion was made to legalize prostitution although this amendment failed by a majority vote on account of it being unsuitable and violating certain cultural practices.

Kazakhstan states, “Kazakhstan is a cultural country. Legalizing prostitution will have a negative effect on its principles.”

Many countries think a major step towards getting there, is raising awareness among these refugees, with Kazakhstan stating that it is working on implementing awareness programmers and workshops for them, as well as promoting free education for child refugees in partnership with child protection groups and child rights advocates, so as to prepare them to take up a suitable job in the future.

On being asked if safeguarding refugee labour rights mattered to them, Spain said, “Yes, definitely. They too are people who have knowledge, maybe not secondary knowledge, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have potential.” “We will be providing stable jobs for them so that they can get a suitable salary that will help them get back on their feet.”

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