Labour mobility

Irregular migration and regular pathways, including decent work, labour mobility, recognition of skills and qualifications and other relevant measures

Palais des Nations, Room XIX, Geneva, 12-13 October 2017

Background documents

Side events

Organization of work

Day 1
Time Session
10:00 - 10:15

Opening segment (webcast)

Welcoming remarks by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the United Nations General Assembly

Opening remarks by the co-facilitators

  • H.E. Mr. Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations
  • H.E. Mr. Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations

Remarks by Ms. Louise Arbour, Secretary-General of the intergovernmental conference

10:15 - 13:00

PANEL 1: Irregular migration and regular pathways (webcast)

This panel will examine ways of reducing the incidence of irregular migration, including through the promotion and expansion of safe, orderly and regular migration pathways. The panel will also share ways of analyzing consequences and effects of migration laws and policies, as well as innovative practices relating to family reunification, regularization, transition from informal to the formal economy, and labour market needs testing. The impacts of irregular migration in countries of origin, transit and destination will also be explored, as well as ways of addressing the consequences. The panel will highlight different human mobility arrangements implemented as part of planned and well-managed migration policies.

  • Mr. Michael Clemens, Senior Fellow at Center for Global Development Economics
  • Mr. Nando Sigona, Senior Birmingham Fellow & Senior Lecturer Institute for Research into Superdiversity
  • Ms. Amalia Dolores García Medina, Secretary of labour and employment promotion at Mexico City Government 

Moderator: H. E. Ms. Antje Leendertse, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations in Geneva and H.E. Mr. Walid Doudech, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations in Geneva

13:00 - 15:00  Lunch / Space for side-events
15:00 - 18:00

PANEL 2: Decent work and labour mobility (webcast)

This panel will discuss the promotion of labour migration that benefits societies of origin, transit and destination, and protects the rights of migrant workers and their families, particularly women, youth and those in precarious employment. The panel will examine ways to promote and facilitate regular labour mobility, including circular, temporary and permanent migration, including through bilateral and regional arrangements. It will further explore ways to safeguard and realize decent work for migrant workers to enhance the development outcomes for them and their families, as well as for countries of origin, transit and destination. The panel will focus on reducing the costs of labour migration, fair and ethical recruitment, comprehensive national labour migration policies aligned with international standards, and social protection.

  • Mr. Ibrahim Awad, Professor, Director, Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, The American University in Cairo
  • Ms. Jenna Hennebry, Director of the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) at Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Ms. Vicky Kanyoka, Africa Regional Coordinator at International Domestic Workers’ Federation

Moderator: H.E. Mr. Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva

Day 2
Time Session
10:00 - 13:00

PANEL 3: Recognition of skills and qualifications and relevant measures (webcast)


This panel will discuss ways to address labour market needs and skills shortages at all skill levels in both countries of destination and origin, through regular pathways for migration. The panel will explore good practices for facilitating the interjurisdictional recognition and validation of qualifications, skills and competencies, as well as prior learning of migrant workers to ensure optimal mobility and matching of these skills to available jobs. This panel will further examine how public employment services, employers and the private sector, public-private partnerships, trade unions and other civil society actors can support skills mobility.

  • Ms. Elisa Fornalé - World Trade Institute - University of Bern
  • Ms. Lynn Shotwell, Executive Director for the Council for Global Immigration
  • Ms. Shannon Lederer - Director of Immigration Policy - AFL-CIO

​Moderator: H.E. Mr. Michel Lastschenko, Special Envoy for Migration and Asylum of Belgium and H.E. Ms. Marta Maurás, Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva

13:00 - 15:00 Lunch / Space for side-events
15:00 - 17:50

SUMMARY PANEL: Synopsis of the main conclusions and outcomes (webcast)

  • Moderators present the key recommendations resulting from their panels
  • Mr. Pablo Ceriani, Professor of Law and Coordinator of the Migration & Human Rights Program at the National University of Lanús and Vice-chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers, thematic expert provides a short overview of the main discussions and the interlinkages between the panels
  • Interactive exchange between the moderators, the thematic expert and Member States on the outcomes of the session
17:50 - 18:00 Closing remarks by the Co-facilitators

Statements from the floor

Member States

Bahrain (panel 2) Finland Senegal
Bangladesh (panel 1-3) Germany (panel 1) Singapore
Canada (panel 1-2-3) Germany (panel 2) Slovak Republic
Colombo Process (CP - 1) Germany (panel 3) Slovenia (panel 2)
Colombo Process (CP - 2) Ghana Sweden
Colombo Process (CP - 3) Honduras (panel 3) Sweden (panel 3)
Council of Europe (panel 3) Indonesia Switzerland (panel 3)
Denmark (panel 1) Nepal (panel 1) UAE (panel 1)
Ethiopia (panel 1) Nepal as Chair of the Colombo Process UAE (panel 2)
Ethiopia (panel 2) Philippines (panel 2) UAE (panel 3)
EU Philippines (panel 3)  


Association of Miraisme International MITRA Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (panel 4)
Congregation of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd MITRA (panel 4) Südwind- Institute
IFRC National Research Council of Italy (IRISS-CNR) UNHCR
Kiel Institute (panel 1) PSI UNICEF
Kiel Institute (panel 3) Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (panel 2) UN Women  

Other inputs

Initiative for child rights
World Education Services (panel 3)