Traditionally, refugee response actors have offered support through the provision of humanitarian aid. While such aid has an essential role to play in protecting the physical security of refugees, it alone is not enough. A comprehensive response must extend beyond short-term needs if it is to enable refugees to rebuild their lives and achieve self-sufficiency. By investing in refugees’ access to safe, lawful employment, we are investing in the long term success of refugees and their host communities.
Under international and oftentimes regional law, refugees have access to a series of rights that facilitate their ability to rebuild a life in a new country. This includes the right to access jobs and business permits, and also a right to be free from workplace discrimination, forced labor, and other abuses. Paired with rights to freedom of movement, legal documentation, education and access to financial services, you get the package of “refugee work rights” that allow a person to become self-sufficient and build a life in a new country. This section will explore different programmatic approaches that facilitates work rights for refugees, in law and in practice.
Effective advocacy for refugee work rights (RWR) can take on various programmatic strategies and approaches. The purpose of the section is to help you design and implement a RWR program that can make the right to safe and lawful employment a reality for refugees in your country. It provides the tools to assess country contexts, and based on your findings, design and implement refugee work rights programs. It also includes best practices, implementation challenges and lessons learnt based on Asylum Access’s experience in implementing RWR programs globally. Case studies of RWR programs cover legal services, community empowerment and policy advocacy tools.