Economic Inclusion

Everyone—regardless of citizenship—has the right to work, and Governments are obliged to take progressive measures to safeguard this right. Non-citizens who are lawfully present in a State are entitled to treatment equal to that enjoyed by citizens in the realm of employment and work. (OHCHR, The Rights of Non-Citizens, New York and Geneva, 2006)

Unemployment, low educational level, unrecognized qualifications, low-paid and insecure work and lack of access to financial services. Also, with regard to gaining access to capital, migrants may find it difficult to locate and receive financial services. Racial, religious and gender discrimination may limit the employment opportunities for some migrants.

Benefits for the host city
The economic benefits brought to host cities by the migrants are multiple: low skilled migrants hold positions that local populations are no longer able to hold, high skilled migrants offer a wealth of knowledge and a variety of skill sets for the diversification of entrepreneurship; the image of the city is improved by cosmopolitanism; diasporas of various migrant groups encourage new linkages with other cities and industries, etc.

What can be done?
Local authorities have to guarantee equal access to employment and ensure the right to decent work, decent income and social protection. Special attention has to be paid to the rights of workers in informal economy, such as domestic workers and street vendors. Equality at work should be promoted through anti-discrimination and diversification strategies. Municipal decision-makers need to ensure recognition of skills and qualifications as well as access to support services (e.g. language classes) and vocational training. Ethnic entrepreneurship should be supported and international migrants should have access to financial services and remittances.

Example of good practice

The Equal Employment Programme, Vancouver, Canada
Through the Equal Employment Opportunity Program, the city of Vancouver (Canada) enhances access to employment opportunities, supports city departments in recruiting a qualified workforce that reflects the diversity of the community and provides training on diversification and anti-discrimination in workplaces.

Migrants’ work inclusion, Montréal, Canada
The website (website in French) is an inventory of resources and initiatives to improve the integration of immigrants in Montreal. To promote employment integration of immigrant, this website answers the need for increase awareness of all services, projects and measures for immigrants or visible minorities, organizations and employers of the island of Montreal.

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