From skill mapping to labor market integration - the Skills Assessment Pilot

Gaining financial independence through employement is esential for every refugee in order to rebuild his or her life and become a part of the society that adopted them. As most people who have arrived in Europe in the past three years seeking international protection will be staying here in the long run, labour market integration could be the single most important step to a succesful integration in the host societies.

The Skills Assesment Pilot – connecting skills with the labour market

Albeit esential, labor market integration is a multifaceted process which goes through different phases, requires time and a variety of actors that work at many levels to address the issues and the challenges that arise from helping refugees gain their financial independence.

Against this background and in the framework of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, a strategy set forth by the European Commission's Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG Employment), IOM Romania has joined the efforts of other EU countries and implemented , between September 2017 - February 2018, the Skills Assesment Pilot project as part of the EU relocation programme funded by the European Union.

The Pilot-project was aimed at mapping the skills, qualifications and language proficiency of beneficiaries of international protection relocated to Romania to start a job matching process which, if succesful, could be extended to cover more categories of migrants seeking a job in Romania.

The target group of the project was comprised of Syrian and Iraki asylum seekers who were relocated from Greece during 2017. Out of the 172 beneficiaries of the EU relocation programme in 2017, only 20 were identified all over the country, mostly in the Centres for Asylum Procedures. On top of this group, due to low numbers identified, 7 more beneficiaries of the EU relocation programme who arrived in Romania in 2016 were also included in the skills assesments. Albeit they were not part of the target group, the project had also a wider scope, that to asses the needs and the challenges ecounterd by migrants in the path towards integration, once arrived in Romania. As such, we looked beyond the idea of a target group and tried to provide information and counselling to as many migrants as possible.

Mapping skills

To support early identification of skills of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants, a tool has been developed by DG Employment and launched in June 2017, the EU Skills Profile Tool.

The focus of the tool is to help individuals produce a profile of their skills and to help an adviser identify any recommendations or next steps. It was designed to be used both during the pre-departure phase as well as during post-arrival. The information collected can be used to:

  • support further assessment;
  • form a basis for offering guidance;
  • identify up-skilling needs;
  • support job-searching and job-matching.

Information sessions have been organized with groups of beneficiaries in the five cities were the assessments have been carried out. People were very interested to learn about the job opportunities available on the Romanian labour market, to learn about their rights once employed and what papers do they need to present to a potential employer in order to get hired.

Although the information they were given as well as the assessments carried out were meant to encourage people to prepare for a job, they had to be made aware of the fact that it will be challenging to get hired in Romania, even though there is an acute need of workforce. The biggest obstacles would be the lack of Romanian language skills and, in some cases, insufficient education: 26 out of the 27 people that filled out the skills assessment tool did not have any knowledge of Romanian and just 12 of them had some English language skills. What is more, a quarter of the 27 beneficiaries had either no education or just primary education. Aside from the language skills, the lack of an education makes it hard for them to obtain a qualification and find a well-paid job. Experience gained through previous integration projects and activities has shown that there is a strong connection between education and a successful integration.

Accessing the job market – connecting prospective employees with potential employers

Unemployment offices in every municipality are equipped with the tools and know-how to help migrants find a job. However, there is still a gap between people in need for a job and the institutions addressing uneployment in Romania. This is caused, at times, by insufficient information available to both migrants as well as authorities. The Skills Assesment Pilot has attempted to bridge this gap by connecting beneficiaries of international protection looking for a job in Romania directly with companies, HR outsourcing and work-placement agencies.

For this reason, we have organized a meeting, in January 2018, with a number of work-placement agencies and HR-outsourcing companies active on the Romanian labour market. Among the participants were:

  • Manpower Group Romania, part of the Manpower Group, an American company globally recognized as a leader in innovative workforce services;
  • Prais Foundation, part of the Romanian consultancy company Prais Corporate Communications;
  • Smartree, Romanian human resources consulting company;
  • Randstad, Dutch company with a presence in 39 countries on 5 continents, focused on technological solutions;
  • Human Solutions, Romanian recruiting company;
  • Manita Group, Romanian recruiting company;
  • Lugera, international recruiting company.

The discussions were focused on the status of BPs under Romanian legislation, their rights as well as the job opportunities existing in Romania. Since the participants are among the biggest players on the Romanian labour market, considering also their partners and smaller companies they own, reaching out to them was very important. The discussions resulted in an agreement in which IOM will act as an intermediary, referring to these companies all migrants who reach IOM or its partners expressing an interest in finding a job in Romania.

All things considered, the information sessions, the discussions held with migrants and the skills assessments carried out have been great opportunities for all parties to learn more. On the one hand, about the challenges of migrants in their struggle towards integration and on the other hand about the Romanian labour market.

The information brochure on labour market integration, can be downloaded here.


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