About 27 million young people leave their home countries to find employment abroad each year and even though there may be a thousand different reasons that push them to leave their families, one of the most powerful and decisive of them all is the lack of decent work. According to a 2013 U.N. world youth report regarding youth migration and development, 60 per cent of young people in developing regions are either unemployed or engaged in informal employment and are not studying.
The answer to the unemployment problem is migration, which is why some countries have begun to strike deals with other nations to create new employment opportunity. One such example is Malawi, which struck deals with a number of countries to “export” its youth labour and create new employment opportunities.
Governments can help young people use migration as a means of accessing job opportunities and, according to The Guardian, there are a few approaches they can use. First of all, there is a pressing need for professional networks. Because young migrants usually lack access to professional networks and trusted social support, governments should create virtual communities which connect them with specialized personnel who can offer assistance in the form of mentorship or even advice.
Second, gaining employment remains highly competitive even in countries where the labour market is more stable, so in order to grow their chances, they should have relevant education and life skills training. Appropriate education is important, but young people should also have some knowledge about job opportunities and the culture of the country they are planning to move to.
Third, governments should understand that young migrants can be agents of development in both their home countries and their destination countries. One good example of a partnership between a government and the private and third sector is Italy’s initiative to support Senegalese and Ghanaian migrants via the Migration for Development in Africa programme.
Nine out of ten African doctoral candidates who study abroad plan to return to their home countries and work there, SciDevNet reported in 2013. Given the fact that so many young people want to return home and pour their financial resources into their own nations, governments in developing countries should be prepared to offer micro-finance services to support young returnees’ start-ups.
Europe is currently facing a wave of migrants, but this does not necessarily translate into a problem. A new report on integration within the world’s richest countries shows that nations with larger migrant populations are better at integrating them into the workforce. Migrants to countries within the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development are more likely to find employment if the host country has a larger migrant population.
There is no easy way to an efficient or perfect integration of young migrants and no country has managed to perfect its integration strategy so far, but with the new wave of migrants, many governments may consider opening their doors to smart, hard-working people.