Youth and migration

Young migrants make up more than 10 per cent of the overall 232 million international migrants, and, being the most mobile social group, young people constitute the bulk of annual migration movements. While international migration represents an opportunity for youth to provide a better life for themselves and their families, pursue educational aspirations, improve their professional skills and prospects, or satisfy a desire for personal development through the adventures and challenges that come with living abroad, the migration of young people takes place in the context of high youth unemployment and the lack of decent work creation at home. The unemployment rate among youth in almost all countries is at least twice that of the general unemployment rate, and an estimated 73 million young people are estimated to be unemployed, according to the latest ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth report. Unfortunately, as a result, many young migrants frequently get trapped in exploitative and abusive jobs, including forced labour. And too often, they – like other migrants – become scapegoats for the shortcomings of economic and social systems.

When young people migrate in conditions of freedom, dignity, equity and security, they can boost economic and social development both of countries of origin and destination. Therefore, the ILO works with all relevant stakeholders – including the youth themselves – in broad-based partnerships in order to facilitate social dialogue, exchange of good practices, and training to ensure better employment and labour migration policy coherence that promotes decent work for young migrants.