Social and labour inclusion of refugees in the construction sector

In Italy, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of the Interior and the Social Partners promotes refugees self-reliance through professional training and employment pathways
Good Practices

Social and labour inclusion of refugees in the construction sector

In Italy, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of the Interior and the Social Partners promotes refugees self-reliance through professional training and employment pathways
A construction worker on top of a wooden frame

The project in brief

The project is implemented by DG Immigration and Integration Policies – Ministry of Labour and Social Policies - Italy in Italy. It began in 2022 and is currently ongoing.

Training and employment opportunities for refugees and other vulnerable migrants to facilitate their integration and meet the labour demand in the construction sector: These are the objectives of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2022 by the Minister of Labour and Social Policies and the Minister of the Interior, along with social and economic partners in the construction industry. Thanks to this collaboration, also supported by UNHCR, refugees hosted in reception centres have the opportunity to participate in training courses and professional traineeships.

The goal is to carry out 3,000 training and employment programs for refugees and other vulnerable migrants, guiding them towards autonomy and addressing the labour shortages in the construction sector.

Main activities of the Good Practice

The program benefits various groups, including asylum seekers, holders of international, temporary, and special protection status, unaccompanied minors in transition to adulthood, and former unaccompanied minors hosted in the Reception System. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government and social and economic partners is put into action in the regions where these persons are present, and where the construction sector offers opportunities for training and job placement. Prefectures play a crucial role by initiating and coordinating local committees, which bring together representatives from the reception network and the Construction Training Schools run by social partners. These committees select eligible candidates and provide support during training courses and work experiences offered by companies.

The training in construction schools is designed for small groups and typically spans 100 to 200 hours. It includes theoretical instruction and practical hands-on activities, covering initial orientation and reception, mandatory workplace safety training, and professional skill development. Upon completing these courses, participants gain hands-on experience through internships or employment contracts with construction companies. These companies are chosen based on their real labor needs, ensuring tangible employment opportunities for program participants.

The acquired skills are spendable throughout the national territory and are documented in the construction sector's training database. Participants also have access to various free services offered by the “Borsa Lavoro Edile Nazionale, a bilateral platform that facilitates the job matching in the construction sector.

Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice

  • The collaboration of ministries dealing with the reception, employment and integration of refugees with social and economic partners
  • The active involvement of employers' organizations and trade unions to ensure linkage with the labor market, respect for workers' rights, and the provision of employment-focused training pathways
  • The large number of construction sector training schools, over 100 across Italy
  • The activation of coordination mechanisms at the national and local levels

Partners involved

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


Bringing together and coordinating a large number of actors, with different competencies and functions, at the national and local level is difficult and time-spending.

How they were overcome

Creating a national working group that brings together all the relevant actors, which signed the memorandum of understanding and activating local committees coordinated by prefectures that bring together reception system centres, social partners and construction schools.

Results of the Good Practice

  • Refugees gain adequate skills, access employment opportunities, and establish a network of relationships beyond the reception system. All these factors contribute to their autonomy and support integration.
  • The host community can also rely on refugees to respond to labour shortages and the challenges of post-pandemic recovery
  • The contribution of refugees to the well-being of the community as a whole becomes more evident

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries

Initiating people into autonomy means getting them out of the reception system and thus eases the pressure on the host country.

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

The acquisition of useful skills and the on-the-job experiences in a high-demand sector help refugees find employment opportunities and build a network of relationships outside the reception system. This is a crucial step toward self-reliance.

Next steps

The successful collaboration between institutions and social partners in the construction sector can serve as a model. This approach can be extended to various sectors, offering similar training and employment opportunities. This is especially relevant for sectors facing significant labour shortages and already employing a significant number of migrant workers, such as agriculture, hospitality, and personal care services.

Submitted by

Elvio Pasca, Communication Officer, Anpal Servizi, Direzione Generale dell’immigrazione e delle politiche di integrazione, Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali