Enhancing Partnerships Between Cities and Businesses for Migration


DATE: MAY 2017

In 2015, according to the United Nations, 244 million people worldwide were international migrants, of which 65.3 million were forcefully displaced. Ultimately, it is in cities where migrants settle, make their daily lives, and interact with the local population.

Cities are faced with the challenge of effectively integrating migrants including access to the labor market, while migrants need to gain employment in order to contribute to the local economy and actively participate in their new community.

Capitalizing on the skills migrants have to offer has the potential to reduce the cost that migrants could have on the welfare system and other indirect costs due to unemployment. This poses a great opportunity for businesses, which are increasingly struggling to fill skills gaps from within their local labor markets.

However, migration is still a topic that generates confusion and mixed perceptions amongst businesses, and a shift in mentality is needed to capitalize on the full potential of migration. Migrants and refugees still constitute largely untapped pools of talent. Local governments are in the best position to incentivize private sector engagement via programs to better leverage migrants for positive outcomes by working in partnership and addressing issues that are relevant to business’ bottom line, such as return on investment.

This paper reviews initiatives aimed at enhancing business-city partnerships for successful economic integration of migrants and draws lessons from them. The labor market participation of ethnic minorities facilitates their social acceptance, and prevents further social exclusion by enabling social contact between migrants and the host community, and allowing them to develop their talents. The paper also suggests ways to maximize the positive effects of labor integration of migrants through the formation of partnerships between cities and businesses.

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Engagement with the Private Sector on International Migration

Partners: GLobal forum on migration and development, international organisation of employers

date: march 2014


With the ever-increasing globalisation of human resources, work, and services and its impact on national development goals, the private sector is a necessary negotiating partner within the area of migration and development.

Within the framework of the Global Forum on Migration and Development 2013-2014, the Swedish Chair came together with The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Council for Global Immigration and other contributing partners to deepen and diversify GFMD engagement with targeted business sectors including construction; mining and extractives, recruitment, insurance, financial services, and others.

To that end, successful thematic business round table meetings with states and businesses were held in New York, Brussels and Geneva, as well as one-on-one consultations with executives from a number of multinational enterprises. Furthermore, a ‚Äúmapping study‚ÄĚ consisting of a Delphi Process and a two-part survey was¬†undertaken to ascertain not only current business practices, perspectives, and values with respect to global mobility, but also the private sector‚Äôs position on the concept of engagement with governments in migration policy making.

The ultimate goal of the various thematic meetings and the mapping research effort is to continuously discover potential areas of common ground for public-private cooperation in the realm of migration and development while simultaneously building trust and fostering greater engagement with participating industries. This report outlines the methodology, design and outcomes of the mapping study.

The preliminary results and outcomes of the mapping study were presented at a meeting held in Geneva in March 2014, for government and business representatives in which participants discussed the findings of the Delphi Process and two-part survey as part of a larger discussion on private sector engagement on international migration. The feedback and recommendations that were given as a result of the presentation and the meeting itself are included in this report.

This report is divided into four parts: Part I comprises of an introduction which provides background information on the development of the migration field vis-à-vis the private sector; private sector engagement; and issues of mutual concern.
Part II and Part III of this report outline the methodologies, findings and recommendations of the Delphi Process and those of the two-part survey accordingly. Finally, Part IV of this report outlines the recommendations and feedback from the Geneva meeting held in March 2014.

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Big Cities and Migration ‚Äď International Working Conference

Location: The Hague, the Netherlands

Partners: City of The Hague, Compagnia di San Paolo, ICCO, Oxfam Novib, NCDO.

Publication date: February 2007


The International Working Conference was organised by The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration, under its Big Cities Initiative and in close cooperation with the City of The Hague, the Netherlands. In 2005 and 2006, a series of pre-conferences were organised to pave the way for this high-level meeting.

The working conference consisted of two days of workshops and interactive exchanges of ideas in the field of migration and local policies to enhance social cohesion, inclusion and participation of refugee and migrant populations at the city level. Notwithstanding differences in resources and levels of development of cities worldwide, discussions looked to emphasise principles valid for all cities and all societies.  Participants shared their visions on local challenges and practices in focused working sessions on: (1) Social Cohesion; (2) Local Governance and Political Participation; (3) Education; (4) Housing, Health and other Social Services; (5) Migrant Enterprise, Employment and Business Opportunities. The main findings of these sessions are detailed in the Final Report along with good practices and policy directions.

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Towards an Inclusive Approach to Citizenship: Local Covenants for Non-Discriminatory and Equal Opportunities in Access to Employment

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Partners: The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), Municipality of Copenhagen, City of The Hague, Compagnia di San Paolo, ICCO, Oxfam Novib. 

date: 16 Р18 october 2007


Can innovative policies and covenants be designed which guarantee the effective protection and inclusion of all city residents? Is access to the labour market and employment the key driver for the empowerment and participation of migrants and refugees? What is the place of human rights in the city? How can we move towards their effective realization? Can cities pave the way for a new approach to citizenship? Should and will local policymakers and stakeholders deepen a legitimate say in the highly sensitive (im)migration and inclusion debates as they unfold at the national, regional and international level ?

With specific attention to the challenges faced by migrants and refugees, these are some of the pressing questions addressed in this international workshop with policymakers from the municipalities of CopenhagPostsen, Johannesburg, Lyon, Malmö, The Hague, and Toronto, along with migrant and refugee organisations, NGO representatives and international experts (ILO, UNESCO, UN-HABITAT).

The meeting was organised under the ¬īBig Cities Initiative¬ī of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration which aims to explore the role large cities can play in the formation and delivery of effective and sustainable migration and refugee policies in line with the larger human rights and development agenda.

The key findings from the workshop can be found in the Final Report.

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Equal Opportunities for All – Speech by HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Chairman of the Board of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration

Author: HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Chairman of the Board of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration
date: novEMBER 2007


Equal Opportunities for AllSpeech by HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Chairman of the Board of ‚ÄėThe Hague Process on Refugees and Migration at the VNG – CERM Conference in the City of The Hague, 29 November 2007.

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Towards an Inclusive Approach to Citizenship: Investing in Education for the Empowerment of All City Residents

Location: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Partners: City of The Hague, Compagnia di San Paolo, ICCO, Oxfam Novib.

date: february 2008


International Workshop organised by The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration within the World Conference on the Development of Cities: Democratic Innovation and Social Transformations for Inclusive Cities for the 21st Century which took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in February 2008.

To what extent is education the key to the inclusion and empowerment of all in the city? Is it a required focus for a holistic human rights based approach to personal and collective development in the city? What are the challenges in terms of effective and equal access for refugees and migrant populations? Beyond access, what proactive policies can enable newcomers to overcome barriers (language, school environnment, orientation…)? Which stakeholders should be engaged and which partnerships established ?

These are some of the framing questions which guided the work of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration within the World Conference on the Development of Cities. Challenges were addressed by participants from Cairo, Johannesburg, SŠļ•o Paulo, Lyon, Turin and The Hague on the basis of their respective experiences in the field of education, human rights and migration. The initiative unveiled pathways to advance the realization of fundamental rights to education and inclusion of all city residents. The initiative received support by UNESCO, by way of its Assistant Director General for Education Mr. N.Burnett.

The key findings from the workshop can be found in the Final Report.

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Business and Migration ‚Äď Perceptions from Denmark

A compilation of reflections by Danish business and organised industry on various issues related to migration

Editor and Project Coordinator: Yulia Poskakukhina
Co- Editor: Dylan Eyre

Publication date: february 2009


Business plays a central role in supporting the dynamics of international labour migration and development. While employers can benefit from sound migration management, responsible business and corporate labour market insight can render a valuable contribution to the international debate on cross-border labour mobility.

The private sector may be involved in shaping migration-related policy on a national level. However, the voice of business is rarely heard outside of organised industry and state lobbying circles. Individuals working on migration matters at international and non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, think-tanks and government agencies are often unfamiliar with the corporate experience in relation to a multinational workforce.

This compilation gives a glimpse of the perceptions Danish companies and business associations hold on various issues material to international migration. It aspires to make a modest step in opening the business angle to interested policy-makers, researchers, practitioners, public officials, stakeholders and the general public around the world. The initiative extends a platform for corporate and organized industry actors to share their ideas on the present and future demand for foreign labour; to communicate the difficulties which companies face in recruiting and managing employees from abroad; to reflect on potential solutions and existing best practices. Furthermore, it encourages the Danish corporate community to explore matters such as human rights, integration, welfare of migrant workers, migration and development and ethical management of global supply chains.

A series of interviews with private sector and organized industry professionals in Denmark, conducted in October-November 2008 and revisited in January 2009, underlie the report.

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Report from the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) Conference on migrant labour in global supply chains

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Partners: Danish Ethical Trading Initiative 

Publication date: january 2009


This report is the output from the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) Conference on migrant labour in global supply chains that took place in Copenhagen on 30 January 2009. The report was prepared by The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration.

DIEH took the initiative to organise the conference due to the growing attention to the topic at hand by business and organisations working on ethical trade. DIEH member companies have pointed out that the presence of migrant workers in their global supply chains brings distinct ethical challenges to their daily work. According to the ILO labour migration is increasing worldwide, and there are now approximately 200 million international migrants, and millions more that migrate internally for work within the borders of their own countries. It seems valuable to give attention to this large and vulnerable segment of the workforce. In addition, an impact assessment of the Ethical Trading Institute (UK) shows that migrant workers are often worse off because of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Lastly, the issue has become even more pressing now that the ‚Äėglobal economic meltdown‚Äô seems to affect migrant labour in particular.

The purpose of the conference was to:
‚ÄĘ explore the problems relating to migration between and within developing countries and emerging economies;
‚ÄĘ discuss how businesses and other stakeholders engaged in responsible supply chain management can help to protect the rights of migrant workers in global supply chains.

The conference gathered a wide variety of participants with diverse backgrounds, including Danish and international businesses, NGO’s, unions, trade organizations, and academics.

The conference report presents a summary of the presentations and the main outcomes of the roundtable discussions.

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Business, Migration and Mobility – Roundtable discussion with Dutch Business Leaders

location: the hague
date: April 2009


The corporate sector plays a vital role as employer and societal actor with regards to migration issues, but has hitherto been involved too little in the migration debate. Therefore The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP) in the framework of its Business Initiative, organised for the second time a roundtable discussion on ‚ÄėBusiness, Migration and Mobility‚Äô in the Netherlands, in cooperation with the European Commission (EC) and the Dutch Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW).

In addition to representatives from the corporate sector, a number of governmental representatives, in particular from cities, took part in the roundtable discussion in order to facilitate a dialogue between these two important stakeholders in the migration policy field.

In the roundtable report, the main conclusions, ideas and recommendations brought forward by the participants have been summarised.

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Preliminary Expert Consultation on Business / Cities and Urbanisation / Migration

location: the hague, the netherlands 
date: november 2010


The consultation was designed to collect input from representatives of business and cities presenting their perspective on refugee and migration issues in relation to their professional objectives. The facilitators of both groups shared the main findings in plenary sessions to spark off a multidisciplinary debate and to work towards consensus.

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