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Labour migration on the agenda of Africa-Europe dialogue

News | 05 April 2006

BRUSSELS (ILO I-news) - Senior government officials and senior executives of Africa and Europe's employers' organizations and trade unions will examine ways of making labour migration contribute to integration and development at a Africa-Europe Inter-regional dialogue to take place in Brussels on 4-6 April 2006.

The meeting is organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and constitutes the culminating point of a 3-year programme, supported by the European Union, involving research, tripartite (Governments, employers, trade unions) regional meetings, interregional partnerships building and discussion over key issues such as protection of migrant workers, labour markets needs, management of labour migration and anticipating on future migration movements and needs.

While the Europe Union generally estimates (in a Green Paper released last year), that between 2010 and 2030, at current immigration flows, the EU-25's working-age population will fall by 20 million, the ILO notes that 20 million African workers live and work outside of their countries of origin and by 2015, one out of ten African workers will be living and working outside his or her country.

"Clearly, labour migration will be a key challenge for Europe and Africa in the next years to come" says ILO expert Patrick Taran. "Much of the ILO efforts goes into making labour migration a win-win situation for sending and receiving countries and for national and migrant workers", he added.

The ILO/EU programme has already led to adoption of new legislation in a number of African countries and to the establishment of tripartite migration mechanisms in twelve countries across the continent.

In Brussels, government and social partner officials are reviewing progress, examining new research and discussing policy options on how to best manage labour migration for integration and development.

The ILO has recently elaborated a non-binding multilateral framework for labour migration that is being supported by the European Union and a large number of developing countries as a unique tool to deal with migration as part of a right-based approach that take account of labour markets needs.

ILO Conventions on migrant workers provide for equal treatment for migrant workers and for improving legal migration avenues as a means of reducing abuses often linked to irregular migration.

"A significant number of migrants face undue hardships and abuse in the form of low wages, poor working conditions, virtual absence of social protection, denial of freedom of association and workers' rights, discrimination and xenophobia, as well as social exclusion" says the ILO.