IOM strives to protect migrant workers and to optimize the benefits of labour migration for the countries of origin and destination, employers and private sector interests, as well as for migrants themselves.

Well-managed labour migration and the establishment of legal migration corridors not only reduce pressures towards irregular migration but can also have positive impacts on economic growth in countries of destination by easing labour market pressures and contributing new skills to local economies. 

The Labour Mobility and Social Incusion (LMI) unit works with governments and private sector companies in countries of origin and destination in order to establish effective policies and programmes to govern labour mobility and facilitate linkages between the labour supply and demand. 

In the MENA Region, IOM has been contributing to this effort with policy advice and capacity building in labour migration management; facilitating foreign recruitment and temporary migration; conducting migrant training and pre-departure orientation; information sharing and awareness raising. 


Global Remittances Stats

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The LMI unit works with government, recruitment agencies and private sector companies to protect migrant workers and to optimize the benefits of labour migration for both the country of origin and destination as well as for the migrants themselves. IOM’s approach to international labour migration is to foster the synergies between labour migration and development, and to promote legal avenues of labour migration as an alternative to irregular migration.

In a step towards regularizing labour migration, in 2021 Libya and Niger signed a memorandum of understanding that seeks to protect migrant workers through effective work visa issuance before employment and to better respond to Libya's labour market needs. 

International labour migration is a transnational phenomenon and cannot be effectively managed at the national level alone. It needs to be addressed at the bilateral, regional and international levels. Since the launch in 2018 of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), which aims to facilitate and coordinate safe, orderly, and regular migration, IOM and ILO in particular have been working towards developing comprehensive global policy guidance on BLMAs, based on regional and international standards, inter-state mobility agreements and the GCM. BLMAs are crucial to improve the governance of labour migration and the protection of migrant workers, when anchored in international human and workers’ rights and implemented effectively.

Skills Mobility Partnerships (SMPs) are a form of BLMAs that place skills development in Country of Origin at the heart of their efforts, and a common tool developed by IOM to effectively coordinate and manage labour migration. The aim through SMPs is to promote cooperation on skills development, recognition, and anticipation of the needs. When implemented effectively, SMPs can help destination countries meet skill shortages and labour market needs, improve migrant’s skills sets, and thereby career prospects, and not least contribute to country of origins’ development through remittances, capacity building and skills transfer. 

Findings by the ILO and research partners indicate that a green future scenario with investments into renewable energies, building efficiency, and green transport, would add over 20 million new jobs alone by 2030. Right skills for green jobs will accelerate the transition to a greener economy and full and productive employment as enshrined in SDG 8. Today, skills gaps are already recognized as a major bottleneck in this journey. The adoption and dissemination of green technologies requires skills in technology application, adaptation and maintenance. Skills are also crucial for economies and businesses, workers and entrepreneurs, to rapidly adapt to changes as a consequence of environmental policies or climate change. IOM Skills Mobility Partnerships can help address the skilling and reskilling of workers, creating win-win situations among participating countries that will benefit from meeting skill shortages and labor market needs.

In recent years IOM has also reinforced its commitment to ethical recruitment of migrants with the creation of a global platform and policy network IRIS (International Recruitment Integrity System) in collaboration of partners from government, civil society and the private sector. The goal of IRIS is to make international recruitment fair for everyone involved (migrant workers, employers, recruiters in both countries of origin and destination), to promote respect of the rights of migrant workers and strengthen public policies, regulations and enforcement mechanisms.

In the MENA region, already three governments (Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia) have joined this policy network, and hopefully more countries will follow in the future. 

IOM mainstreams gender in all its programming and seeks to include gender-sensitive measures into migration policies of countries of origin and destination. It also seeks to include such measures in BLAs and SMPs, enabling environments that provide equality of employment opportunities and access to benefits to migrant men and women.

By working with a wide range of stakeholders – governments, civil society and international partners, the activities IOM for MENA pursues the following objectives: 

  • Maximizing developmental benefits of migration through diaspora engagement, promotion of productive use of remittances and other financial gains from migration;
  • Promoting coherence between migration policies and broader development policies and mainstreaming migration into sectoral policies such as education, employment, economic development and poverty reduction; 
  • Encouraging more effective regulatory frameworks for labour migration and foreign recruitment, better informed, trained and empowered migrants.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, IOM expanded its programme to support governments, employers and labour recruiters alike in responding effectively to the crisis and in safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of all migrant workers, acknowledging that the impacts of COVID19 are exacerbated for women and girls, across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection. IOM has developed a number of COVID-19 related guidelines, issues briefs and policy papers, which inform policy-makers and private sector actors on recommended measures to recover better from COVID 19 and reap the benefits of facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people (SDG 10.7) for the benefits of all. 

LMI's work is directly related to the following SDG goals and GCM objectives:

SDG & GCM Objectives