What is International Migrants Day? Everything You Need to Know

According to the Migrants Observatory, migrants make up 18% of the UK workforce.

Understanding the circumstances and challenges behind migration is vital for understanding and respecting migrant workers in your organisation.

In this article, we explain what migration is and how you can take action to support migrant colleagues. Continue reading to find out more.

International Migrants Day is a day set aside to honour migrants from all over the world. This year, the day is celebrated on 18 December.

Migrants face numerous challenges, including job loss, discrimination, and being stranded with no income. When migrants are forced to live in these conditions, they are more vulnerable to exploitation.

What is migration?

Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. For many people, they live in a different country to the one they were born in.

Some people migrate out of choice, but many migrate because they have no other option. This could be due to safety concerns, societal issues, or war and conflict. This is known as forced migration.

What problems do migrants face?

Migrants face a variety of challenges throughout their journey, from the start to the finish. If the migration is forced, people have to leave their home and possessions behind. Migration can sometimes split families apart, which is an impossible situation to be put in.

There are safety risks on the journey, whether due to environmental factors or the risk of being hurt by others. People who migrate are vulnerable to abuse or exploitation, especially if they travel to a country where they do not speak the language.

When migrants arrive at their destination, they face a whole new set of challenges. Access to health care, housing, education, and employment may be difficult. After fleeing their home countries and losing contact with family and friends, arriving in a new country and dealing with these issues can be a very lonely experience.

How you can help refugees and migrants

There are many ways you can help refugees and migrants through your organisations.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Provide employment opportunities

Organisations can hire refugees and people with “humanitarian protection status.” This means that the individual has the same right to work as someone born in the UK.

It is critical that you provide opportunities for migrants and refugees wherever possible within your organisation. People who have come from other countries will have a diverse set of skills and talents that can greatly benefit your organisation. You are discriminating and risk not having the best people for the job if you do not give this group of people opportunities.

If you want more information on becoming an Inclusive Employer, click here to learn more.

Raise awareness

It is important to raise awareness of the situations surrounding migrants and refugees, and the challenges they face. This year, you can use International Migrants Day to send a message to your fellow workers, as well as to your family and friends.

Raising awareness can be as simple as starting a conversation about the discrimination that migrants face. Alternatively, you could set up “donation stations” to collect items to donate. If you’re reading this article, you’re off to a good start because it shows you’re interested in learning more about equal opportunities in the workplace.

Have a level of understanding

If you have hired a migrant or refugee, it is critical that you have a thorough understanding of their individual circumstances.

Even for well-settled migrants, cultural and communication barriers may exist. By creating an inclusive environment, you will enable people to thrive and feel at ease.

Donate goods and services

If you have any goods that you can do without, donate them. Although they may not mean a lot to you, they could mean the world to someone who has come to the country with nothing.

The government has a service that helps you understand what you can offer and how to help refugees in your local area.

Closing thoughts

Immigrants come from all over the world to share their skills and talents with us. Migrants who are forced to flee their home countries and begin new lives must be met with compassion and understanding.

If you are a member and need assistance with supporting migrant workers, please contact your account manager.

If you are not yet a member but are interested in becoming an Inclusive Employer through training or membership, please contact us here.