In recent years, several countries have identified the up-skilling of migrant workers as a key strategy to ensure better jobs and working conditions for migrant workers. There are multiple perceived benefits of skills development, certification and recognition for migrants:
- positive impact on the functioning of labour markets.
- Skills can help to increase opportunities for better wages and working conditions, including occupational safety and health.
- Investment in skills enhances the reputation of the country as a source of quality workers.
However, some key questions and challenges remain:
- Cost and time required to undertake skills training and certification may not necessarily result in improved wages or working conditions.
- Demand is not always driven by employer needs.
- Need to assess skills acquired (particularly informally) in the country of origin as well as to ascertain skills requirements from the country of destination.
- Lack of timely information on labour market demands and skills requirements from employers.
- Limited evidence of monitoring and evaluation systems being put in place.
- Skills eco-systems need to balance both domestic and international skills needs and not only the needs of countries of origin.
To continue its work on these challenges and opportunities at the global, regional and national levels, the ILO is organizing an inter-regional expert forum between South Asia and the Middle East which will facilitate the sharing of research and practical experiences in the area of skills and migration, and identify interventions that can be carried forward through ILO technical cooperation assistance. The outcomes of the discussions will also feed into deliberations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
The event will collect perspectives from the global and regional levels, presenting ILO analysis on skills recognition systems and reflecting on how the global picture applies to the skills and migration practice and discourse in the South Asia – GCC corridor.
Special sessions for sharing experience and perspectives from South Asia and from the Middle East will also be included, to share information about relevant programmes, identify common challenges and responses and develop a set of interventions to consider at country level, and set of recommendations for the other region to consider.
Field visits to a training centre and testing centre in Noida will also be part of the programme.