Brussels – On 29 and 30 November IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and its project partners organized the closing event of the Skills2Work project. Funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home), and implemented with 11 regional partners, the Skills2Work project aims to facilitate labour market integration and participation of Beneficiaries of International Protection (BIPs) by promoting the early validation of formal and informal skills and competences.
This is achieved by supporting the reception framework and capacities of relevant authorities, service providers and employers, and by enhancing access to information and services regarding the recognition of skills and qualifications of refugees.
“It is important to intervene early in the asylum process to build on the motivation of asylum seekers in order to provide them with language courses, first integration measures and further advice for a successful entry on the labour market,” said Laurent Aujean, Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG Home.
A job facilitates the socio-economic integration of refugees, and as such, increases the social cohesion within the society.
Fares Al Qadi, Event Manager at the Refugee Company, shared his views during the event: “When you are in a new place, the best thing you can do is to meet new people and build a network… Integration is an ongoing process, not like a test that you fail or pass. Some people are born with a head start, I was born with the opposite."
Director of the IOM Regional Office for the European Economic Area Eugenio Ambrosi further underlined that “successful integration is essential for all stakeholders, not only in terms of the benefits gained from migration, but also for the well-being of migrants and the security, stability and social harmony and prosperity of society as a whole.”
The foundation of the project was laid by IOM at the beginning of January 2016 with the establishment of a European network of experts, municipalities, interest groups, employers and academics. The Skills2Work project is active until 28 February 2018 in nine EU countries: Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
During the event in Brussels, the project partners and beneficiaries shared successful initiatives from the project, best practices and challenges.
IOM Netherlands Chief of Mission Martin Wyss outlined the concrete outcomes of the project which include a dedicated website with procedures and information about employers in the participating EU countries; a booklet with success stories of refugees and employers; a video clip highlighting the skills and talents that migrants bring to European economies; and a set of best practices and recommendations for enhancing the validation and recognition of skills and competencies.
Seventy participants took part in the event, representing various organizations based in the nine participating Member States, including migrant support organizations, refugees, the private sector, the European Commission, local municipalities, government representatives, academic institutions and start-ups.