Labour Migration

International labour migration is defined as the movement of people from one country to another for the purpose of employment. Today, an estimated 105 million persons are working in a country other than their country of birth.  Labour mobility has become a key feature of globalization and the global economy with migrant workers earning US$ 440 billion in 2011, and the World Bank estimating that more than $350 billion of that total was transferred to developing countries in the form of remittances.  However, despite the efforts made to ensure the protection of migrant workers, many remain vulnerable and assume significant risks during the migration process.

When properly managed, labour migration has far-reaching potential for the migrants, their communities, the countries of origin and destination, and for employers. While job creation in the home country is the preferred option, demographic, social and economic factors are increasingly the drivers of migration. As a result, a growing number of both sending and receiving countries view international labour migration as an integral part of their national development and employment strategies. On one hand, countries of origin benefit from labour migration because it relieves unemployment pressures and contributes to development through remittances, knowledge transfer, and the creation of business and trade networks. On the other hand, for destination countries facing labour shortages, orderly and well-managed labour migration can lighten labour scarcity and facilitate mobility.


IOM strives to protect migrant workers and to optimize the benefits of labour migration for both the country of origin and destination as well as for the migrants themselves.


In its labour migration programming, IOM builds capacity in labour migration management by:

offering advice, support and services to the private sector in countries of origin and countries of destination; offering support, training and orientation to the migrants; offering policy and technical advice to the governments; facilitating the recruitment of workers from third countries, including pre-departure training of the migrants and HR training in the receiving companies; promoting the integration of labour migrants in their new workplace and society.

Principal Beneficiaries

IOM implements various labour migration programmes in 70 countries. The beneficiaries of these programmes include:

migrants, their families and their communities; private sector companies (in need of labour to fill their vacancies); local and national governments; regional organizations.


IOM currently has several labour migration projects running in Belgium. Through its global network of more than 400 offices, IOM is able to bring together governments, civil society and the private sector to establish labour migration programmes and mechanisms that balance their various interests, and address migrants’ needs.  IOM’s approach to international labour migration is to foster the synergies between labour migration and development, and to promote legal avenues of labour migration as an alternative to irregular migration.  Moreover, IOM aims to facilitate the development of policies and programmes that are in the interest of migrants and society, providing effective protection and assistance to labour migrants and their families.


IOM Belgium focal point for labour migration:, tel: +32 (0) 2 287 74 14.

Migrant Integration

Since the 1950s IOM has implemented programmes that assist Member States with the integration of migrants as a key to effective and comprehensive migration management. While the term “integration” can be understood differently depending on the country and context, it is generally defined as the process of mutual adaptation between host society and migrant. It implies a sense of obligation and respect for a core set of values that bind migrants and their host communities to a common purpose. Integration is essential for all stakeholders, not only as a way of providing economic and cultural benefits but also for ensuring the security and stability of societies as a whole.

One of the main challenges of creating an effective integration policy is to make sure that it intersects with other major policy areas, including the protection of migrants’ human rights and equal opportunities, employment and labour-market issues, regional development, national security, social cohesion, public health, education, and naturalization and citizenship issues. IOM works with government, non-government and private sector stakeholders to address specific integration challenges, and to develop joint policy strategies and identify concrete support measures.

Principle Beneficiaries

In order to address integration challenges, IOM’s partners include government agencies at national and local levels, employers, trade unions, educational institutions, media, ethnic community representatives, and migrant organizations. We offer technical support to these stakeholders through trainings, workshops, advisory services, and other capacity-building initiatives, drawing on a range of integration models and best practices gained through field experience.


IOM takes a comprehensive approach to migrant integration in order to ensure that migrants can fully engage with their host society from a socio-economic, political, and cultural perspective. Programmes are tailored to take into account migrant characteristics such as gender, age, duration of stay, and overall economic and societal trends in the receiving country. IOM draws from a wide variety of integration practices developed by national governments and builds on them for the benefit of other countries with similar goals. Most existing practices and models of successful integration are adapted from either European countries or traditional destination countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, although the growing importance of South-South migration provides an opportunity for the development of practices that can respond to related integration challenges. Programmes are monitored regularly and their impact and relevance evaluated.


IOM Belgium focal point for migrant integration:, tel: +32 (0) 2 287 74 14. 



MATCH - Migration of African Talents through Capacity building and Hiring

MATCH will provide job placements in primarily the ICT, technology and engineering sectors in 4 EU Member States (Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and The Netherlands) to over 200 young graduates from Senegal and Nigeria. The project aims to strengthen the skills and employability of the young graduates, develop the capacity of institutional partners that are part of the labour migration scheme and address sectorial labour shortages in the 4 participating EU Member States.

Read more about the project in EnglishFrench and Dutch

Circular Migration Project between Belgium and Tunisia

Through the project "Enhancing Tunisian Youth Employability through Professional Internships in Belgian Companies" 31 young Tunisians came to Belgium for a six-month period to gain hands-on work experience and develop their professional skills, with the overall objective of enhancing their employability back in their home country. The project has been financed by the Belgian Immigration Office and supported by the Tunisian Government.

Read more in English or French.

Watch the video, "Enhancing Tunisian Youth Employability."


DT4E - Displaced Talent for Europe

DT4E will enable people in need of international protection in Jordan and Lebanon to connect with employers and sustainably integrate into the labour market in Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The project aims to increase national support for displaced talent mobility, to engage the private sector to address skill shortages, to support minimum 250 talents and to create a community of practice.

Read more about the project here