Building partnerships with the private sector to harness migration’s potential
Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible Relacionados y Objetivos del Pacto Mundial sobre Migración
This text was originally published on the UNDP website.
By Cécile Riallant, Head, Migration and Sustainable Development Division, IOM, Luca Renda, Head, Recovery Solutions and Human Mobility Team, UNDP and Charlotte Johanna Muller, Migration and Private Sector Specialist, UNDP.
Countries wanting to reap the many rewards of migration must look to deepen their engagement with the private sector. One in eight people worldwide are on the move, including internal and international migrants and forcibly displaced people. Migrants already contribute greatly as employers, employees, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. They improve their own lives, those of the communities around them, and send remittances that benefit 800 million family members. The opportunities for them to contribute to economic growth and sustainable development could be expanded with the help of businesses, banks and other private sector actors.
The world is still recovering from COVID-19. Several countries face historic levels of unemployment. The global jobs gap - stood at 473 million people in 2022. Countries face a global skills shortage related to the technology and green economy transformations. Migration will be essential to build stronger economies, fill labour gaps and create solutions to climate change.
Migrants help the private sector power innovation, and are overrepresented in patents, arts and sciences awards. On the other hand, the private sector creates jobs so that migrants can effectively use their skills and support their families. But the private sector’s role can go far beyond this, by fostering migrants’ entrepreneurship, providing them products and services, advocating with governments for more inclusive policies, and playing an essential role in the integration of migrants into societies and economies.
Yet, migrants still find limits placed on their ability to contribute. They struggle to find work in the formal labour market and to access finance, healthcare and education. Their skills and diplomas are not always recognized. They often face racism, discrimination and exclusion.
Companies can find themselves struggling with the “red tape” surrounding the legal, regulatory and policy frameworks governing migration. Their own limited knowledge, potentially biased attitudes towards migrants and gender-based discrimination raise further blocks.
While the rationale for private sector engagement for enhanced migration and development outcomes is very clear, more needs to be done to engage the private sector in an efficient way. Despite excellent examples of successful partnerships, private sector engagement still remains ad-hoc rather than based on long-term relationship building between the private sector, governments, local communities and migrants.