Podcast: Europe must recognise the job rights of refugees

In this podcast, Daniel Endres, Director of the UNHCR Bureau for Europe discusses the employment rights of refugees.

Speaking on the first day of a joint conference hosted in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe and the United Nations refugee agency, he says: “Refugees are legally in Europe and have the right to work. We have to see how practically, this right can be set in motion. There are many practical hurdles.

“If they do not have this right, it ends in illegal employment, exploitation and ill-repute of entire communities.”

Some 1.5 million refugees are living in Europe and Endres (photo) recognises the reluctance of Council of Europe member state governments and those in other regions to respect a UN treaty and the European Social Charter which protects their job rights.

He says that this reluctance, made worse by the financial crisis, could be overcome if governments showed a willingness to recognise refugee’s academic qualifications.

“If people work, they will not depend on social benefits,” he adds. “In the long term it’s a win situation for the socity, for governments and for the refigees if they have an early access to work.”

The Essential

News: Conference on refugee rights

Information: Conference programme

Information: Social Charter

Event: Follow the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy (5-11 October) on the web, Facebook and Twitter #CoE_WFD

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