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Photo via UNU-CPR

This event is part of the UNU-CPR Migration Policy Roundtables. More details on the series can be found here.

The second in a series of migration policy roundtables, this event will focus on the growing proportion of migrants, particularly those in manual or semi-skilled sectors, who face significant difficulties in accessing ‘decent work’ in host countries. A growing proportion of migrants, particularly those who are in manual or semi-skilled sectors of the labour market, face significant difficulties in accessing decent work in host countries. This includes those migrating between the countries of the Global South, some of which have weak or developing economies and problems with job creation, which can force many people —not just migrants— to engage in precarious work and put themselves at risk of labor exploitation. Migrant experiences of the labour market include low wages, poor working conditions, a virtual absence of social protection, denial of freedom of association and workers’ rights, discrimination and xenophobia, as well as social exclusion. In a significant number of cases, unemployment rates, job security and wages differ between regular migrant workers and national workers. The lack of opportunities for decent work undermines the contribution of migration to delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and impedes migrants’ integration into host societies. It can be associated with human rights abuses and even death.

Drawing on evidence from a recently published Dejusticia book entitled Migration and Decent Work: Challenges for the Global South, this roundtable brings together representatives from the UN system, Members States, international organisations and civil society to examine the challenges of ensuring that migrants in the Global South have both the right to work and decent working conditions. The roundtable discussion will focus on policy and practice efforts aimed at ensuring that migrants, including refugees, have access to the labour market; reducing poor working conditions, insecurity and discrimination; and identifying remedies for exploitation, forced labour and wage theft.

For those who wish to attend in-person (see venue details below) please confirm by contacting:

The event is aimed at UN agencies, Member States, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, academia, and others with an interest in ensuring the effective implementation of the Global Compact for Migration.

Moderator: Professor Heaven Crawley, Head, Equitable Development and Migration, UNU-CPR, and Director, MIDEQ Hub.

Opening presentation: Lucía Ramirez Bolívar, Dejusticia, Colombia, and co-author of Migration and Decent Work: Challenges for the Global South, will provide an overview of the study’s key findings and implications for policy.


  • Felipe González Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  • Michelle Leighton, Chief, Labour Migration Branch, ILO
  • Sarah Mehta, Head of International Projects, Migrant Justice Institute
  • Paola Simonetti, Director, Equality Department, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Venue: Baha’i International Community to the UN, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 120, New York, NY 10017

A UNU-CPR policy brief summarizing the key themes and recommendations will be published online following the event and circulated to all participants.