Work for All, Including Migrants and Refugees


Pope Francis has invited the entire Church to reflect on a different and undoubtedly better "post-COVID" world, in which no one is left behind and to work together for its construction.

This decisive moment in the social and economic history of the world raises a series of challenges, serious and enormous, and at the same time represents an opportunity to determine the future of our society. At this critical juncture, we must pay particular attention to the world of work.

In order to build a fairer future, in which the human being is placed at the center, needs to abandon the current vision of work as a means of production and return its rightful place, that is, as an actus personae, an act of the person. The work is for human beings and not the other way around. In this context, the social doctrine of The Catholic Church recognizes both the duty to work, to contribute to the development such as the right to work, so that an individual can support himself himself and his family.

People without jobs are in danger of being relegated to the margins of society. With this in mind, our Newsletter will examine the main challenges faced by migrants and refugees when accessing the world of work. Particular attention will be paid to the repercussions of the pandemic on their lives, as well as their exclusion from work or the obligation to work, under duress, irregular or precarious manner. The Newsletter will also present good practices aimed at facilitate the access of migrants and refugees to employment and protect those who enter the labor market.

The Vatican COVID-19 Commission

Given the extreme importance of work for the promotion of human dignity and the comprehensive human development, the Vatican COVID-19 Commission (VCC-19) launched, in November 2021, the Work for All project. VCC-19 intends to undertake a journey of discernment, with local Catholic communities around the world, about the future of the world of work and the structural changes needed to build a future in which there is work for all.

Local Catholic communities have expressed deep concern about the exacerbation of pre-existing socioeconomic and ecological inequalities in the labor sector during the pandemic, and how the virus itself has been transforming such inequalities in a network of mutually reinforcing injustices. Therefore, these local communities have emphasized the need for radical change after the COVID-19.

In light of these concerns and testimonies, especially from those who come from the margins of society, VCC-19 will connect the creators of change with the best practices around the world to propose an inclusive path to the future, starting with the creation of decent, sustainable and resilient jobs. Are solutions are designed to be developed and translated into pastoral resources locally designed, based on the best scientific and theological reflection available, and are capable of inspiring collective action and hope for a future better.

Pope Francis

"In a truly developed society, work is an inalienable dimension of social life, since it is not only a way of earning a living, but also a channel for personal growth, to establish healthy relationships, to express oneself, to share gifts, to feel co-responsible for the improvement of the world, and ultimately to live as a people". With these words from the Encyclical Fratelli tutti (n. 162), Pope Francis sends us a clear message about the importance of work for the future of humanity.

To get out of this crisis and dream of a different future, Pope Francis asks us, as the People of God, "to choose fraternity over individualism", to listen to the "cry that rises from the peripheries of society" and bring to the center those who are marginalized, as active participants in the process of change. As stated by the Saint Father in Laudato si' (n. 128), "helping the poor with money must always be a temporary solution to resolve emergencies. The great objective should always be allow them a decent life through work".

In his message for the World Day of Peace 2022, Pope Francis noted that "the impact of the crisis on the informal economy, which often affects workers migrants, has been particularly devastating. To many of them the national laws they do not recognize them, it is as if they did not exist. They and their families live in very precarious conditions, exposed to various forms of slavery and deprived of a social assistance system that protects them".

The Holy Father stressed that, thanks to the work of many migrants, the basic needs of the most developed societies. Others, on the other hand, try survive without a stable job and are often victims of exploitation. In addition, In the book Let's dream together, Pope Francis affirms that these existential peripheries they also house "social, parochial, educational movements, capable of uniting people, make them protagonists of their own stories [...] [they] come together seeking to transform injustice into a possibility: I call them social poets".

The Pope considers that his search for dignity and his refusal to resign himself to injustice, it is the source from which change must flow. This Bulletin is born from the inspiration of the Pope and aims to give these "social poets" a voice.

Testimonials and Reflections

Refugees are forced to leave their respective countries, bringing with them only the essentials and stories of suffering. They must rebuild their lives from scratch in a foreign country, where it is very difficult to access basic services and have the necessary documentation to work. However, the refugees show often a remarkable resilience and willpower. That is the story of Gahizi, a Congolese refugee in Malawi who had to leave her country due to violence intertribal. She fled with her sister after the soldiers killed her parents and They will burn down her house. As a refugee in Malawi, Gahizi did not allow the suffering of her past will condition her hope for the future. Thanks to her participation in the JRS Digital Inclusion Programme, Gahizi got a job. the opportunity to working and being self-sufficient is one of the most effective ways for refugees to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to the life of their communities.

In the workplace, informal is often synonymous with invisibility. During the pandemic and lockdown, informal work has often been excluded from welfare policies. Dialogue with popular movements constitutes a pillar essential in the Magisterium of Pope Francis. They are self-managed associations, used by workers in the "informal economy" to cope with the main problems arising from its extreme precariousness. in an article published in the Jesuit magazine Aggiornamenti Sociali (IT), Card. Michael Cherny, Prefect ad interim of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, collaborated with the editor Paolo Foglizzo to reflect together on the Pope's words Francisco at the IV World Meeting of Popular Movements (EMMP).

In his speech, the Holy Father recognized the double identity of the members of the popular movements: they are victims of an unjust system and are the protagonists of their own redemption and the architects of creative alternatives. Therefore, the article does emphasis on the emphasis that the Pope attributes to the peripheries, as points of observation privileged from which to contemplate the reality of the world. For this reason, popular movements have "the responsibility [...] not to remain silent, so that the announcement of what is seen from the peripheries can reach the whole of society".

Modern slavery is a growing and alarming phenomenon, even in the regions most developed and democratic in the world. To people in desperate conditions they are given an unpaid job or promised a job that they don't really exists. The pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of victims and traffickers are more difficult to pursue, due to the increasing use of technology digital. An example of them is Aranya, he did not believe that slavery existed in Australia modern (EN). She was cheated on by people she considered friends.

Instead of a room to stay in and a job as a housekeeper, she ended up paying $100 for week to sleep on the kitchen floor of a stranger's house, a house that she had to clean without being paid for it. Later, Aranya was recruited to work in a massage parlor, which was also a brothel; she charged per customer and had to working a minimum of 10 hours a day, all with no idea how to escape. Victims of modern slavery are often threatened or blackmailed. "I I felt lost and vulnerable. I was in shock and didn't know what to do, so I just accepted it," Aranya said.

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