Work Rights

Work rights for refugees vary greatly between countries, with complex domestic legal provisions depending on migration status (‘asylum seeker’, refugee, indefinite leave to remain, etc). The right to work is often also affected by the length of time someone has spent in the country of asylum awaiting RSD processes.

The first step for organizing work rights trainings is to research the legal framework and common issues in your context.

PowerPoint presentations and hand-outs are ideal for these trainings, as participants can then take materials home and spread the information among their communities.

Information to cover could include:

  • Rights under national and international law,
  • Local procedures to follow to obtain a work permit, including documentation required, cost and where to go to do this process,
  • How to legalize your business,
  • Advantages and risks of going ahead with documentation or registration processes,
  • Basics of contract law (do verbal contracts count? employees must comply with contractual duties),
  • Entitlements under domestic law to sick pay and sick leave, maternity leave, holidays, dangerous environment protections, social security affiliation, minimum wage, working hours, etc.,
  • Procedures to follow if your work rights (including social security entitlements) are being violated (ombudsmen, specific government authority).

End your trainings with quizzes on the major points of work rights e.g. what is the minimum wage, what are the main steps to take to get work permits.

If your organization decides to focus more in depth on skills building and getting refugees into work, consider:

  • Interview training,
  • CV revision and workshops,
  • Job-hunting planning and advice (including contact details of job centres, leaving newspaper job exchanges in your office for clients’ use),
  • Language classes,
  • Providing advice on work opportunities and vacancies,
  • Building links with other job insertion programs designed for refugees, migrants or other unemployed individuals.