Asylum Access Refugee Rights

Refugee Work Rights Coalition

The Refugee Work Rights Coalition was spearheaded by Asylum Access in 2013. It now has a geographically diverse membership, with members in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and MENA.

The Coalition engages in joint-advocacy, as well as the exchange of country information and professional guidance regarding best practices and lessons learned from work rights advocacy and livelihood programming.

Specifically, the coalition takes steps to:

  • Advocate for and facilitate legislative change to ensure that domestic laws and policies enshrine refugees’ right to work as set forth in international and regional human rights law;
  • Where legal protection of refugees’ work rights exist domestically, monitor and evaluate state observance of labor protections;
  • Foster and strengthen collaboration between policy advocates, legal service providers and livelihood officers so that they may develop coordinated strategies to promote the right to work and increase economic opportunities for refugees;
  • Increase UNHCR’s and other refugee service providers capacity (technical expertise and funding) to promote refugees’ right to work;
  • Create a network of information sharing to expound the social, economic, legal and/or political landscapes that enable or inhibit refugees’ access to work;
  • Develop partnerships with non-traditional actors such as development and private sector actors to explore innovative and unexplored approaches for implementing livelihood initiatives;
  • Build awareness amongst the broader public to raise the visibility of and support for refugees’ work rights;
  • and

  • Ensure the active and on-going involvement of refugees in the setting of goals, objectives and activities for the coalition.

In September 2014, the Refugee Work Rights Coalition released its first report: Global Refugee Work Rights Report 2014: Taking the Movement from Theory to Practice. The report examines the laws, policies and practices for refugee work rights in 15 countries around the globe, affecting a total of 30% of the world’s refugee population. In doing so, it offers a starting point for stakeholders to understand the barriers to preventing work rights from being realized in many major refugee hosting countries, and the arguments and approaches that may be relied upon to break down those barriers.

To learn more about the recent activities of the coalition and how to join, please visit our Refugee Work Rights Page.

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