The Work­ing Roma Project

● Ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges of im­mi­gra­tion and work

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Im­mi­grants tend to ac­cept jobs not nor­mally taken up by lo­cals. These jobs tend to range from clean­ing to the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and con­struc­tion. Ho­tels and restau­rants em­ploy more than 80 per cent of for­eign­ers. Proper ed­u­ca­tion is im­por­tant, and these work­ers need to know their rights to avoid be­ing ex­ploited. Cul­ture, es­pe­cially food, mu­sic and dress, as well as proper sup­port and train­ing could help im­mi­grant work­ers face the chal­lenges of so­cial ex­clu­sion.

These are the most salient points that have been emerg­ing from sev­eral work­shops and events or­ga­nized as part of the Work­ing Roma Project, a project funded by the Euro­pean Union with the main ob­jec­tive be­ing to pro­vide new tools based on the ex­change of the best prac­tices to pre­vent in­tol­er­ance in the labour mar­ket to­wards Roma peo­ple and other mi­nori­ties.

In Malta, the two-year project which started in 2016 and came to an end re­cently, was co­or­di­nated by FOPSIM, the Foun­da­tion for the Pro­mo­tion of So­cial In­clu­sion and was held in part- ner­ship with many or­ga­ni­za­tions from Spain, Bul­garia, Italy, Por­tu­gal, Slove­nia, Ro­ma­nia, Czech Repub­lic and Greece.

“Many im­mi­grant work­ers are ex­cluded from labour and safety pro­tec­tions that lo­cal em­ploy­ees and work­ers of­ten take for granted, be­cause they are dis­pro­por­tion­ately em­ployed in po­si­tions that are ex­empt from many labour law pro­tec­tions, such as, for ex­am­ple, home health aides or do­mes­tic work­ers. Or else be­cause they have no re­course when em­ploy­ers cre­ate un­safe work en­vi­ron­ments or do not pay wages as agreed. Many work for less than the min­i­mum wage and en­dure il­le­gal em­ploy­ment prac­tices. More­over, while more highly qual­i­fied in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sion­als tend to find bet­ter-paid em­ploy­ment, im­mi­grant work­ers with the same level of ed­u­ca­tion tend to earn less, re­gard­less of their le­gal sta­tus,” ex­plained Laura Tre­visan who co­or­di­nated the project in Malta on be­half of FOPSIM.

The work­shops and events or­gan­ised as part of this EU project in fact fo­cused on work­force di­ver­sity and so­cial in­clu­sion dur­ing which par­tic­i­pants dis- cussed chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties of im­mi­gra­tion and work and sought so­lu­tions on how to com­bat and pre­vent racism and xeno­pho­bia in the work­place,” Ms Tre­visan added.

“Our train­ing ses­sions saw a great turn out mostly be­cause these were led by lead­ing em­ploy­ment pro­fes­sion­als from dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions in Malta, in­clud­ing pub­lic com­pa­nies and civic so­ci­ety that came up with in­ter­est­ing sug­ges­tions and top­ics on the mat­ter. We mostly sought sug­ges­tions on how we can pro­mote ac­cess to vo­ca­tional train­ing to mi­nori­ties at risk of so­cial ex­clu­sion and how we can im­prove un­der­stand­ing of the cul­tural and so­cial con­text of the Roma com­mu­nity and other vul­ner­a­ble groups,” she ex­plained.

Re­fer­ring to the out­comes of the project, Ms Tre­visan noted that the project also pro­moted an Ethic Code un­der the form of a Deca­logue which points out 10 best prin­ci­ples to avoid dis­crim­i­na­tion and non-tol­er­ant be­hav­iours at the work­place. It also pro­moted a Man­ual of Good Prac­tice, sum­ma­riz­ing good prac­tices in the in­te­gra­tion of Roma peo­ple and other mi­nori­ties in the labour mar­ket and the com­pi­la­tion of 20 rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove Euro­pean pol­icy for in­te­gra­tion of Roma peo­ple in the labour mar­ket.

“These out­comes have now been de­liv­ered to the Em­ploy­ment and So­cial Af­fairs Com­mis­sion of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment,” Ms Tre­visan said.

As the co­or­di­na­tor of this project, FOPSIM pro­vided ex­per­tise to the project on the tar­get group, dis­sem­i­nated re­sults among stake­hold­ers, sought the par­tic­i­pa­tion of ex­perts and pro­fes­sion­als and pro­vided the ex­per­tise for the ex­change of best prac­tices and knowl­edge. For more in­for­ma­tion on the project, con­tact Laura Tre­visan on

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