High-level Section of the Governing Body - Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization

Panel discussion: “Addressing the labour market impacts of refugees and other forcibly displaced people”

The ILO's Governing Body held a high-level panel with heads of relevant international organizations to share their views on the impacts of refugees and other forcibly displaced people on host societies and their labour markets, and to explore ways of enhancing the ILO’s role and inter-agency cooperation.

The global refugee crisis has grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years, with tragic consequences and unacceptable loss of life. In addition to the immense human suffering involved, the crisis has had major impacts on member States hosting those driven from their homes, including on national labour markets.

Globally, the number of forcibly displaced persons has grown exponentially in recent years, reaching its highest recorded level in 2014 with nearly 60 million people displaced as a result of persecution, conflict and generalized violence. This figure includes over 19 million refugees and almost 2 million asylum seekers, with over 4 million forced across borders from the Syrian conflict. These figures have continued to rise. In addition, reports from relevant monitoring programmes show that increasing numbers of people are being forced to flee their homes due to climate related or other natural disasters.

The scale and scope of the crisis have challenged the ability of members and the international community to respond swiftly and adequately, and posed fundamental questions about the relationship between the humanitarian, labour market and developmental dimensions of their actions.


  • Mr Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

  • Mr Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration and Development

  • Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

  • Ms Carol Batchelor, Director of the Division of International Protection, UNHCR