Cedefop has started a project to investigate how vocational education and training (VET) can effectively contribute to creating labour mobility opportunities for adult refugees.

In the context of the global and EU refugee crisis and of the limited access that refugees have to protection solutions, there has been a renewed interest in the idea of creating labour mobility opportunities allowing refugees to legally move from first asylum countries to other possible host countries based on their skills and qualifications and the labour market needs in latter countries.

In the framework of its current project, Complementary pathways for adult refugees: the role of VET, skills and qualifications, Cedefop’s idea is to define and test a skills-based matching process to allow refugees to move to other countries where they can find work. The starting point would be labour market needs in the potential destination countries and the refugees’ skills and qualifications.

There is already some experience in major host countries of asylum (Canada, Australia and the USA) in assessing refugees’ skills and matching them with employer demand, but in Europe such an initiative is new. With the current Cedefop project we are amidst a process of filling this action gap.

The project now moves from conceptualisation to testing. Promoting and testing this approach is a core challenge. Cedefop is closely working with the EU social partners in promoting it at the national level with the aim of testing it. 

Investing in employing refugees has a threefold purpose: it allows refugees to make use of their skills and qualifications; it responds to the limited capacities of major countries of asylum to integrate refugees and offer them opportunities that would match their skills; and it allows employers in EU Member States to fill skills shortages through a humanitarian approach to a global problem.

Find out more in Cedefop’s Q&A and fact sheet on refugee skills and labour market needs.