The private sector needs to engage with NGOs, governments and policy makers in respect of migration policies, which includes irregular migration and integration of migrants. This allows private sector representatives to discuss the impact of the global refugee crisis on business and mobility programmes.
PwC’s involvement in this area helps drive the PwC purpose, which is to build trust in society and solve important problems. PwC’s Immigration and Mobility practices are thought leaders in this space. In the last 12 months Julia Onslow-Cole and Nadia Idries from our UK office worked with the UNHCR and OECD to help prepare for, and facilitate a series of workshops across Europe including Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich on the theme of “Employing refugees” – a dialogue with employers and business organisations. The dialogues brought together a number of key employers and employers’ organizations to share their experiences of challenges and learnings, and to explore opportunities in employing refugees. The dialogues were designed to be a platform for exchange for discussing common challenges and for identifying innovative strategies and best practices to make refugee employment a benefit for all.
Building on this engagement, PwC Switzerland has been contributing to thought leadership initiatives. Most recently, on 19 July 2017, Mirela Stoia, who leads the immigration practice of PwC Switzerland, participated in a panel hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the following topic “Understanding migrant vulnerabilities: a solution-based approach towards a global compact that reduces vulnerability and empower migrants” at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
PwC contributed by bringing in a private sector perspective to help deepen the audience’s understanding of the various facets of migrants’ vulnerabilities and the complexity of the challenges migrants are facing.
The focus of the roundtable was how the protection of vulnerable migrants might be incorporated into the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Panel members discussed the specific challenges posed by vulnerable populations and ways to facilitate international coordination to address migration governance. Further topics included discussion of concrete policies and programmes to prevent, address and sustainably resolve migrant vulnerability. The discussion addressed different regional (i.e. ECOWAS) and international approaches (i.e. MICIC) to migrant vulnerability, exploring how such approaches could be integrated as a part of developing and formulating the GCM. The roundtables provided an opportunity to look at the roles of various actors and their mode of engagement, taking account of the need to maximise coordination and cooperation opportunities in a way that avoids the duplication of efforts and resources.
PwC feels that in the last 12-24 months there has been an increased focus on engaging the private sector to take a conceptual leadership role regarding the integration and empowerment of migrants (both regular and irregular). It is thus, crucial that this engagement continue as private-sector organisations can use the power of their brands to support integration and inclusion initiatives as they pertain to migrants. Further, private-sector organisations operate on a global level and can utilise their extensive networks and experience to share best practices and advise on not just the theoretical aspects of addressing migrant vulnerabilities but also the practical steps that can be taken to implement mechanisms empowering migrants. Inclusion of private-sector organisations in multilateral systems, roundtables and conferences is an ideal opportunity for the sharing of ideas with NGOS, government agencies and those operating on the ground.
Furthermore, the private sector can learn from those directly involved in the humanitarian and policy arenas as they relate to migrants. In these areas, private-sector actors can better focus their CSR and HR strategies not just in respect of employing migrants, but also for the benefit of talent recruitment. Specifically, if private-sector actors can better understand the push-and-pull factors which fuel migrant movement from home countries, they can look at their global expansion and business strategies to evaluate whether they can take advantage of and provide opportunities to individuals in jurisdictions which are the focus of any such strategic plans. This understanding can potentially lead to business growth for private- sector organisations in countries of interest whilst assisting with the economic development of those countries. This understanding can in some ways thereby stem the flow of migration instigated by lack of economic opportunities.
PwC’s full statement as presented at the roundtables can be accessed via the following IOM link: https://www.iom.int/international-dialogue-migration-2017-understanding-migrant-vulnerabilities-solution-based-approach
Some impressions of the panel discussion:
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