Under its work on labour migration governance and mobility, IOM promotes collaborative, effective and sustainable approaches to cross-border mobility for employment or training purposes. IOM does so by providing technical assistance, capacity development and policy advice to governments and other stakeholders on rights- and evidence-based labour and skills mobility pathways that respond to labour market needs and contribute to development.

Through its Labour Mobility and Markets (LMM) Unit, IOM engages with actors working at the intersection of migration, employment, education and development to create and reinforce effective bi- and multilateral cooperation on labour mobility. This work is being done within the context of a changing world of work and education, growing digital connectivity, globalizing labour markets and an evolving future of work and mobility. Against this backdrop, IOM promotes and facilitates global dialogues and regional processes, seeking cooperation and synergies between governmental, private sector and civil society actors.

Focus Areas
  • Promote inter-state cooperation on labour migration and mobility, including through Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements (BLMAs), Regional Consultative Processes (RCPs), and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
  • Reinforce the link between labour markets and labour mobility, including through mainstreaming migration into labour market information systems and other data systems.
  • Strengthen the skills dimension of labour migration and mobility governance, including through the implementation of Skills Mobility Partnerships (SMPs).
  • Mainstream labour migration and mobility into relevant policy planning processes to enhance policy coherence and reinforce the link between labour migration, skills mobility, and development.  
  • Work with governments and other stakeholders towards the achievement of labour migration-related objectives as stipulated in the Global Compact for Migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant global and regional frameworks. 

Labour migration governance is a key tool to ensure that multilateral and regional mechanisms, as well as national and local governments, can respond effectively to labour mobility and market trends.

Continuously transforming mobility patterns, a changing and future world of work, alongside demographic and technological trends, and the particular needs of women and youth in mobility and migration processes require a better understanding of how to invest and recognize skills, education, and work experience throughout the migration continuum. 

For this reason, LMI works to develop and implement innovative approaches that help national and regional systems to respond and adapt to evolving migration patterns and contribute to mobility becoming a choice. LMI strives to protect migrant workers’ rights and to optimize the benefits of labour migration for both country of origin and destination, businesses as well as for the migrants themselves.

IOM’s work on labour migration governance and mobility is underpinned by a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach that ensures labour and skills mobility responses are holistic and coherent across policy areas, governance levels and stakeholders. As such, IOM responses cut across migration, labour market, education, social and employment policies, are cognizant of regional, national and subnational levels and involve a range of stakeholders including relevant government ministries and public authorities, employer organisations, industry bodies and businesses, unions, civil society organizations, migrant representations and diaspora organizations. 


Fabio Jiménez, Head Labour Mobility and Market Unit: jfjimenez@iom.int.