With record-breaking numbers of refugees and other migrants moving across international borders, fleeing conflict, persecution, and poverty, or responding to labor and skill shortages and seeking better opportunities elsewhere, closer cooperation and more robust responsibility sharing is required at the international level. Following the 2016 Summit and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, negotiations for a Global Compact on Refugees and a Global Compact for Migration have started – both to be adopted in 2018.
Through the Kiel Institute, MEDAM has been accredited to participate in the stakeholder process for representatives of non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, migrant organizations, and other relevant stakeholders, participating directly or through written submissions in the preparatory process.
The second informal interactive multi-stakeholder hearing in Geneva addressed six thematic areas: human rights, drivers, international cooperation, contributions of migrants, smuggling and trafficking, and labor mobility.
Looking at the evidence regarding irregular migration and regular pathways, Matthias Lücke states that the best way to shift migrants’ incentives from irregular migration towards legal pathways would be for UN member states to first “commit to offering current, well-integrated irregular immigrants to legalize their status. Second, UN member states should ensure that their immigration policies accommodate all legitimate demand for immigrant workers on a regular basis.”
Another labor mobility panel addressed labor market needs and skills shortages at all skill levels in countries of destination and origin. Providing potential migrants with certified skills is crucial to replacing irregular with regular labor migration as many high-income destination countries will not admit immigrants who have no certified skills. “UN member states, including both, countries of origin and destination should commit to cooperating more closely in establishing mutually recognized standards and curricula for vocational training […], they should also cooperate in expanding access to such vocational training for workers based in developing countries.” Four challenges would have to be addressed in this regard: Training standards and curricula should be attuned to labor market requirements in both countries of origin and destination to avoid brain drain from low-income countries; modularization of vocational training could be used to overcome high formal skill requirements by recognizing the crucial skills needed to perform many real-world jobs in a satisfactory manner; regional cooperation should harmonize standards and curricula beyond existing bilateral cooperation for more substantial progress; and finally, the establishment of a less restrictive visa regime for the purposes of vocational training, skill certification, and job search.
Lücke, M. 2017. “To facilitate regular migration by workers with vocational skills, UN member states should cooperate to establish mutually recognized standards and curricula for vocational education and provide vocational training”. Written submission.
Find the thematic sessions, their programs, and all corresponding documents of the second informal interactive multi-stakeholder hearing’s here.