The Future of Labour Mobility Calls for Inclusion of Private Sector in Decision-Making

Geneva – The private sector plays an undisputed role in labour migration. Employers create jobs and the economic demand that inspires workers to cross borders to find employment. They contribute to shaping the labour and employment conditions in places where migrants work; and play a key role in workplace and community integration, with vital knock-on effects for social cohesion.

Employers are also at the forefront of the ethical recruitment agenda. Over the last decade, they have advocated for regulatory frameworks conducive to ethical recruitment, such as banning recruitment fee charging to workers. Alongside this, the private sector has taken ambitious steps to combat risks of human trafficking and forced labour.

Yet employers and their organizations are not only driving change in the global economy; they are deeply embedded in their national and local markets. This means they have a deep understanding of prevailing labour market conditions and unparalleled experience of existing skills shortages and occupational gaps –  two leading factors in the search for workers beyond national boundaries.

Employers understand the economic trends that drive current and future labour market needs; and this must be harnessed by the global community to benefit not only the future of work, but the future of human mobility.

Still, despite the core contributions of employers to migration, too often they are absent from national and international policy and legislative decision-making. And their views play only a small role in changing a negative – sometimes hostile –  public discourse on migration.

To reverse this trend, the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) are intensifying their cooperation to change a global narrative that has become disconnected from the labour market reality; bridge the dialogue gap between governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector; and assist national public-private efforts to craft safe and legal pathways for migrants.

It is clear to us that a whole of society approach, as emphasized by the Global Compact for Migration, will strengthen protections for migrant workers, including economic security, and allow employers to access the skills needed to grow their business.

We need all hands on deck to meet this challenge, and this, importantly, includes the private sector as a key employment provider, labour market actor and driver of mobility in the global economy.


Antonio Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration

Roberto Suarez Santos, Secretary General, International Organisation of Employers

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals