Section: Camp

Migrants living in camps are employed as staff by organizations providing support within the camps for basic service provision or for tasks in which migrants have expertise.

Case study

At migrant camps in Kenya, organizations, including the Kenya Red Cross Society, employ migrants as a special category of workers, known as  incentive workers, to work for the organization to deliver services. Incentive workers work across a variety of service areas. For skilled work, migrants need to show certificates that prove their credentials. If certificates are not available, a brief probationary on-the-job period is used to assess their level of skill and expertise. In addition on-the-job trainings are provided.

Migrants with skills are employed in areas including teaching, plumbing and carpentry. Those with basic education and above are trained and work in functions including community health, hygiene promotion, auxiliary nursing, water quality monitoring, and borehole attending. Non-skilled jobs are also available. Migrants are employed as guards, cleaners, cooks etc.

Other examples

In Turkey, migrants are also employed to provide services in camps. Migrants mainly provide translation services to enable communication between the Arabic speaking Syrian populations and the Turkish speaking Turks. Positions are advertised, with preference given to those from the same camp. Data from camp leaders and UNHCR is consulted for validation of identity documents.

Assessment of impact and reach

As of April 2016, an estimated 5000 incentive workers were employed to provide services within camps across Kenya.

Cost per beneficiary
Alignment with policy

Design. [P1] Focuses on the need of migrants to work.

Implementation. [P3] Employs migrants.

Programme. [P9] Responds to displacement of migrants into camps.

  • Regardless of their skills, salaries for incentive workers remain low ranging from 50 to 100 US dollars per month. This is to ensure pay is below the minimum tax bracket.
  • Regardless of skills and performance, incentive workers cannot receive formal employment due to work permit restrictions. This limits any chances of career progression.
Lessons learned
  • Important to standardize payments for incentive workers to ensure all organizations pay the same for similar functions.
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