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Employment - Youth and Migration: What challenges and opportunities for PES?

17.09.2019 to 19.09.2019






The National Employment Agency (ANPE) of Mali will organize in collaboration with the National Employment Fund (FNE) of Cameroon and with the support of the Executive Secretariat of the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) an international conference on the theme: “Employment - Youth and Migration: What challenges and opportunities for PES?”


The joint organization of this event by the two Public Employment Services (PES) of Cameroon and Mali is in line with the WAPES Long-Term Strategy, of which one of the major axes is the enhancement of cooperation between PES.


This way, from September 17 to 19 2019 heads of member PES of WAPES, international experts, specialized resource persons in youth, employment and migration and institutional partners will meet in the Cameroonian capital to reflect on and propose possible solutions to these thorny problems that all countries face.


Concerning the theme, there is no need to recall the close links between the issues of employment, youth and migration, throughout the world.


Indeed, all analyses carried out converge on the idea that young people play an important development role in their communities but also in their host societies that contribute strongly to the achievement of the objectives of the Agenda 2030, in particular of its elements concerning education (4), employment (8) and reducing inequalities (10).


PES in their strategies to fight unemployment, increase youth employability, promote labour migration and fight irregular migration and migrant smuggling can only take action and contribute to greater social inclusion of these young people in their home or receiving countries.

 Therefore it was of paramount importance for WAPES and its partners to question the theme to better equip its member PES to find appropriate and adequate answers.

 This central theme will be divided into the following sub-themes:

 ·         The issue of youth unemployment, worldwide and in Africa, particularly in a context of globalization, remains the major challenge for many countries.

Numerous studies, in particular the International Labor Organization's annual "World Employment and Social Outlook" report, highlight the fact that in developing countries the reduction of in-work poverty is outpaced by the expansion of the labor force, especially young people.

Moreover, the effects of globalization have profoundly changed the already fragile labor market equilibrium and have significant consequences on the position of youth in the labor market.


·         Policy and legislative frameworks for migration, worldwide and in Africa: yesterday, today and tomorrow (Labor migration or occupational mobility: international, regional and sub-regional provisions)


The International Labor Organization (ILO) Migration for Employment Convention, 1949 (No. 97) provides a basic framework for national legislation and practice on economic migration. It calls upon States that have ratified it (49 to date) to facilitate international migration for employment by ensuring that there is an appropriate free service to assist migrant workers and to provide them with accurate information and taking appropriate measures against misleading propaganda concerning emigration and immigration. The Convention also contains provisions for the adequate medical protection of migrant workers and the transfer of earnings and savings. States shall accord to immigrants lawfully within their territory treatment no less favorable than that accorded to their nationals in a number of areas such as working conditions, union freedom and social Security.


In addition, the 1975 Convention (No. 143) provides for measures to fight illegal migration and illegal employment, and furthermore requires that any State that has ratified it undertake to respect the fundamental rights of all migrant workers. The Convention also extends the scope of equal treatment between migrant workers legally residing in a country and national workers beyond the provisions of the 1949 Convention so as to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of migrant workers in employment and occupation, social security, union and cultural rights, and individual and collective freedom, to persons who, as migrant workers or members of the family, are legally in the territory of the State having ratified it. It also calls on ratifying States (29 to date) to facilitate the reunification of migrant workers residing legally in their territory.


In addition to these founding texts there is the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, an international text from the UN member countries. It stems from a process initiated by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and later it was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2016.

With this text the signatory countries seek for a better cooperation on the issue of migration. It is based as much on human rights as on the realities States face (security, border control).


A total of 23 proposals are set out to help signatory countries cope with migration. The objective is to facilitate the management of these population movements between the countries of origin, those of transit and those of destination. In concrete terms, the Compact proposes better cooperation between States to prevent death on a migratory journey and save lives at sea. Lastly, the text seeks to strengthen the fight against irregular migration between States.


The Marrakech Pact also tackles human trafficking. By signing this text, the countries pledge to reinforce the fight against smuggling and trafficking of migrants as well as the dismantling of smuggling networks. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) migrant trafficking brought in around 6 billion euros to smuggling networks in 2016.


At the level of the African continent, the African Union has also launched programs to organize and facilitate legal migration at continental level through the promotion of exchanges between the various stakeholders, in particular within the framework of the Protocol of the AU concerning the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

 ·         The impact of migration on national labour markets

The economic and social impact of migrants is often difficult to assess. However, what is evident from numerous studies carried out by States having had to manage significant migratory flows is that the implementation of real integration policies are effective and promote the contribution of migrants to employment, finances and the growth of the host countries, but also of their countries of origin.


Here it is important to distinguish two categories of migration:

 On the one hand, the chosen (selected) and prepared migration, which in a number of situations is the result of agreements between countries lacking human resources in certain sectors and countries struggling to find employment solutions for their nationals.

  On the other hand, the inflicted (imposed) migration that often crystallizes all the tensions and which requires a strong adaptability of both the migrants and the services in charge of their reception with, obviously, significant differences in the management of migrants both in terms of the social plan and the labor market integration plan (work permit, access to training, access to employment, social rights, etc.)

 ·         Youth labor migration management: the role of PES

 After all the issues previously raised, it is quite easy to assume the crucial importance of the role that Public Employment Services can and must play in the management of these issues.

 The national legal texts are of course the framework of Public Employment Services interventions and guide reflection and the implementation of ad hoc service offerings.

 In addition, specific programs have already been developed to promote collaboration between PES to help them build the most appropriate service offerings.

 Public Employment Services' experience in dealing with vulnerable groups can, without any doubt, bring major added value in the management of these issues and they are essential actors in the actions related to both the identification of the public concerned and the implementation of specific service offerings, often in partnership with other actors.