In this policy brief we present evidence and policy considerations about the role social partners and social dialogue play in labour market integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, with the aim to present the views of trade unions and employers representatives concerning barriers or enablers of post-2014 MRAs integration in European labour markets across the seven countries studied in SIRIUS (Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). We focus on post-2014 MRAs given the peak in migration and asylum figures Europe has experienced in 2015 and 2016 and the limited research-based evidence about them.
Building upon the main findings of the WP5 Report the most relevant policy implications are:
- Although evidence suggests that asylum seekers and refugees experience an extremely stressful situation which may hinder their well-being and capacity to work, the skills they have acquired in their earlier life and work do not disappear as they move forward. Hence, we should all refrain from an aprioristic evaluation of people’s skills on the simple basis of their reason to migrate;
- Although there are consistent examples of businesses and companies vocal in their support for labour market integration including for the most vulnerable groups of newcomers (cfr. the Italian report in the integrated report document), there is still room for improvement in the private sector for a full understanding of the potential which lies within refugees and asylum seekers that still remains unrealised;
- Social partners identified the need to have more language classes provisions, but also different migration policies, given that, legislation makes it very difficult for third country nationals, and in particular for asylum seekers, to enter the labour market and gain regular, stable and decent employment. Social partners consider also that better job search support services, along with skills matching and skills profiling, and job mentoring could improve the employment situation of TCNs. Furthermore, antidiscrimination and anti-exploitation policies (or a more effective implementation of these) would help too;
- Employment inspections and minimum wages are viable options to improve integration into labour market. In particular, the need to improve the tools and resources to implement job place inspections appear as salient measures in Italy and in Greece. In the former, further inspections could perhaps contribute reducing the massive use of irregular workers in the agriculture industry of Southern regions and the terrible consequences this has had on the life of the immigrants involved;
- There is a need for both policy makers at various levels of government and social partners to commit to create further social dialogue opportunities. Too few cases of social dialogue have occurred across our seven countries in the field of labour migration, but social dialogue seems to us a (if not the) fundamental tool to solve problems occurring in such a polarized domain of migration, and in what is even a more contentious one, that of labour migration. A more coordinated multi-actor effort based on dialogue and mutual understanding, as represented by social dialogue should be encouraged.
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