Access to decent work for refugees and other forcibly displaced persons

The course aims to strengthen the capacities of policy-makers and practitioners in adopting measures to facilitate the access of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to the labour market, and in promoting inclusive employment strategies and policies.

Globally, more than 70 million people are forcibly displaced by conflict, violence and human rights violations, overwhelmingly in emerging economies. As displacement becomes increasingly protracted and refugees increasingly settle in urban areas rather than camps and rural areas, the wider socio-economic consequences of forced displacement have triggered intense debates globally on how to develop appropriate and sustainable policy responses to these challenges.
Development cooperation in which employment promotion for refugees, other forcibly displaced persons and host communities, alongside humanitarian assistance, is now a central pillar of the international response to refugee situations. But access to labour markets is usually constrained by refugees' unclear legal status and the limited degree to which they can enjoy economic and social rights. Competition in the highly crowded informal economy, where most forcibly displaced persons look for work, can also result in unfair competition for unauthorized and unprotected jobs.  

Introduction to the course

Based on the ILO's 2016 Guiding Principles on the access of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to the labour market, ILO standards, other human-rights instruments and existing good practices, this course aims to strengthen the capacities of policy-makers and practitioners in adopting measures to facilitate the access of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to the labour market, and in promoting inclusive employment strategies and policies.

Who attends this course?

  • ministries of labour and related institutions;
  • other ministries and government agencies responsible for refugee-related policies and programmes;
  • social partners;
  • humanitarian and development organisation.

What will I learn?

In relation to the need of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, by the end of this course, participants should be able to:
  • ‘Make the case’ for inclusive labour markets for refugees, forcibly displaced persons and host communities as an essential component of refugee response and beneficial contribution to economic development.   
  • Identify specific challenges and opportunities, including the gender dimension in access to decent work and self-reliance.
  • Comprehend and deploy international human rights and refugee legal frameworks, including, the fundamental principles and rights at work, and other relevant international labour standards, as well as the ILO’s 2016 Guiding Principles to effectively ensure the protection of rights at work and improve working conditions and social protection.
  • Assess and propose relevant legal and policy options that govern labour market access at local and national levels.
  • Promote short- and long-term strategies and programmes for employment creation, including the inclusion of host communities in the formal labour market.
  • Appreciate the roles that a range of stakeholders including workers’ and employers’ organizations, governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector employers can and should play in access to decent work.
  • Access tools and methodologies to address the labour market impacts and promote employment-based responses to refugee situations.

What topics does this course cover?

The course is divided into four substantive modules comprising specific themes and a fifth, synthesising, module:
  1. Introduction and Context: Key concepts and dynamics related to forced displacement,  the importance of access to employment to support livelihoods and self-reliance, and the impact of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons on labour markets.
  2. Legal and Governance Frameworks: International legal and normative frameworks and legislative and  administrative conditions and practices governing and enabling access to labour markets.
  3. Protection and decent work: International legal and normative frameworks of refugee, human rights law and labour standards governing decent work and rights including social protection.
  4. Employment Policies, Strategies and Instruments: Developing and implementing practical policies and strategies that enable to access employment and decent work.
  5. Synthesis: Knowledge Transfer, Consolidation and Integration: Exchange of participants’ professional experience on refugees and labour market issues; wrap up Closing Reflective Session with structured discussion and synthesis of learning; course take-away and follow up.
  6. The course is underpinned by five case studies – Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, South Africa, and Turkey – which provide an important vehicle for the delivery of the course.

Format and methodology

The ITC promotes a three-phase approach in its learning activities:
Pre-training phase (online platform): Two weeks before the face-to-face (residential) phase, participants can access initial information on the course contents and follow an introductory module and exercises.
Face-to-face phase (residential): An action-oriented, highly participatory learning approach will be used, with particular attention devoted to sharing international experiences and “good practices” with a view to their adaptation and practical application. Training methods combine lectures and discussions, case studies, open space debates, role-play exercises and group work.
Follow-up phase (online platform): Participants can access course material, as well as new resources online, and can continue to discuss and consult with other participants and experts via the discussion Forum of the online platform. In addition to this, participants will be invited by the ILO to report on some of the actions taken by them towards enabling greater access to decent work after the course.

Language requirements

The course will be held in English.

How to apply

Applicants should complete the online nomination form no later than 13 March 2020, supported by a nomination letter from the sponsoring institution indicating how the participant will be financed. Please note that if a Schengen visa for Italy is needed, the time required is on average at least three weeks