Skills2Work is an EU-supported project focusing on labour market integration of recognized refugees in Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It specifically focuses on the question of skills assessment and recognition.

The project studies and supports questions related to the preliminary conditions for an early and successful labour market integration for beneficiaries of international protection. Within the project, supporting capacities of relevant authorities, service providers and employers are closely examined to facilitate early access to the labour market as well as skills-based job-matching.

In light of strengthened private sector engagement, IOM conducts stakeholder meetings and consultations with relevant partners for a national research publication highlighting best practices, obstacles, and national/regional regulations and procedures related to the recognition of skills of refugees and promoting their employment on the Belgian labour market. Over the past few months, IOM Belgium conducted extensive outreach to relevant Belgian counterparts at different levels.

Many consultations were held with representatives from public employment services, regional integration centres and services, cities, NGOs, mentoring and educational institutions, microfinancing instances and representatives of the FEB Refugee Taskforce as well as a series of recruiters and employers interested in hiring refugees.

These encounters, accompanied by a thorough research and mapping exercise, allowed IOM to compile a detailed overview of good practices in Belgium which is now being reviewed for publication.

In addition, several interviews with recognized refugees who were able to find employment in Belgium, as well as with employers who recruited recognized refugees were done, with the aim of publishing a series of success stories booklet by the end of 2017.

Moreover, IOM Belgium, together with IOM the Netherlands and IOM Slovenia, will be supporting the development of the Pathfinder, an interactive, online directory designed to assist employers, local service providers and beneficiaries of international protection to easily navigate through the most up-to-date information and services. Through this tool, which will contain all relevant information for the 9 different participating countries, Skills2Work aims to contribute to an early, successful and sustained labour market integration for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection.

Providing input on existing services, organisations, projects and initiatives supporting the identification of skills, knowledge and competencies of beneficiaries of international protection, Belgium - due to its institutional complexity and multitude of involved stakeholders and organizations dedicated to the integration of newcomers - constitutes an interesting context for trialling the functioning of this new tool.

The digital platform FromSkills2Work was officially launched at the end of May 2017. The website offers information on services, organizations, projects and initiatives that support the identification of skills, knowledge and competencies of beneficiaries of international protection with a focus on nine EU member states. The platform also shows success stories from refugees and their employers in each participating member state. 

Labour market integration of migrants and refugees is essential to the overall successful integration both from the perspective of individuals as well as societies.