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Designing labour migration policies to promote decent work

This policy brief addresses the question: How should labour migration policies and related work permits be designed in order to effectively promote declared and decent work and social inclusion? It begins with a brief analysis of the gaps and shortcomings in current schemes across Europe, in three main sections. Section 1 outlines how systems of limiting work permits to certain occupations and using labour market tests are not reflecting the reality of needs of employers, workers and communities. Section 2 considers how some key tendencies in how labour migration is organised risk to exacerbate these issues, and Section 3 gives some broader context, situating labour migration in broader socio-economic trends, in particular just transition and COVID-19 recovery. To provide a practical tool, an annex with some suggested indicators is also provided, together with a case study, to demonstrate how the list of essential characteristics and indicators can be used to assess existing policies.

Date of Publication
Type of Resource
Target Audience
Civil Society
Intergovernmental Organization
Lilana Keith
Michele LeVoy
Other Language
Geographic Scope
Workstream Output
Regional Review Process
Cross Cutting Theme
Labour migration

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).