Geneva, April 24 (IANS/AKI) The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on Tuesday unveiled a path-breaking action plan to boost employment opportunities for refugees, the organisations said.
The innovative plan not only identifies the challenges, opportunities and best practices in the integration of refugees in labour markets, but also forges a concrete blueprint for the successful employment of refugees, UNHCR said.
“Harnessing the full potential of refugees in receiving economies and societies requires a whole of government approach in close partnership with civil society,” said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD’s director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs.
“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 potential,” Scarpetta said.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk said the plan offers a “win-win situation to refugees, employers and host communities,” by ensuring that refugees’ economic potential is fully harnessed to aid their social integration.
“The joint plan itself is the result of a large consultative process, which included employers, trade unions, civil society organizations, governments and refugees,” Turk noted.
Under the plan, after initial assessment of their skills and possible skills gaps, the refugees will be matched with employers and equal opportunities and a welcoming environment will be ensured in their new workplaces, UNHCR said.
For their part, employers will receive support on the administrative framework around refugee worker rights and will receive legal guarantees on the length of stay of refugee workers, according to the plan.
“This Action Plan fully supports a new approach, whereby refugees are be included in the communities from the very start, gain access to jobs and become self-reliant, contributing to local economies and to the development of host communities,” said Turk.