Rome Dialogue I April 2023

The promise of labor market integration to promote orderly asylum seeking

Rome, April 3rd: 14:00 – 17:00


The activities that asylum seekers engage in while waiting for their application to be processed vary widely across destination countries, and there is no common framework. Some countries consider the option of "offshoring" refugee protection, while others require asylum seekers to wait in camps or grant them temporary permits to live and work in the country. Unlike economic migrants, who typically base their decision to move on relative opportunities at their destination, asylum seekers are driven by factors such as vulnerability to persecution and access to the closest safe place. Migrants are often also driven by a mix of motives.

At the same time, labor markets in destination countries are increasingly tight with many vacancies going unfilled, while working during the asylum application period would help build the human capital of the applicant and prepare them better to integrate in the labor market, in the destination country or at home, depending on the outcome of the asylum application. Community sponsorship schemes and complementary pathways, among others, are being tested to do so, as in Spain and Greece. Across countries they vary significantly in terms of eligibility criteria for sponsors and beneficiaries, sponsor responsibilities, and associated rights and status granted. Good practices and relevant experiences exist in Australia, Canada, Italy, the UK, and the US.

Rome Dialogue I, held in Rome on April 3, 2023, will deepen our understanding and discuss various options with experts, practitioners, academics, and policymakers. It is the first input into the development of an Agenda for Change that gathers concrete takeaways from the multi-perspective exchange.