IOM and SDC Renew Commitment to Enhance Decent Employment and Improve Livelihoods of Migrant Workers in the Region

PROMISE enhanced migrant workers’ skills in construction through its skills development programme. © IOM 2021/Javier Vidal

Bangkok – On 1 September 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) launched the second phase of the regional project Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE II) 2021-2025, aiming to enhance decent employment and improve livelihoods for women and men migrant workers, contributing to economic resilience and poverty reduction. Switzerland, through SDC, contributes USD 7.5 million in support of the initiative.

Labour migration to Thailand is a pathway to economic empowerment and resilience for the estimated three million migrant workers from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar (CLM) in Thailand. Migrant workers are drivers of economic growth and business development in Thailand, and yet only a small minority of migrant workers receive any form of skills development training prior to departure and whilst they are in Thailand. Labour migration to Thailand can also be associated with the risk of exploitation, poor living and working conditions, debt and low wages.

Similarly, returnee migrant workers make a vital contribution to household and national income in countries of origin through remittances, and are increasingly recognised in national and regional policies as critical to building a strong labour force in CLM as countries of origin.

PROMISE II builds on the achievements and lessons learned from the first project phase (2017-2021) and aims to maximize the benefits of labour migration for migrant workers, their employers, and communities across Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (CLMT). It will achieve this by working with CLMT Governments, employers, private recruitment agencies, skills development providers, and civil society organizations, as well as via regional mechanisms and forums, including ASEAN. Under PROMISE II, up to 450,000 migrant workers across four countries will directly benefit from skills development and recognition, safe migration training, pre-departure and post-arrival orientation, protection measures and direct assistance.

“PROMISE is founded on the idea that investing in skills development and employability for migrant workers as well as ensuring migrant workers have access to safe migration pathways and decent employment is vital to achieving the full potential of labour migration as a source of poverty reduction and economic resilience,” said Ms. Geraldine Ansart, Chief of Mission at IOM Thailand.

In the next four years, IOM, with generous support from SDC, will continue to support migrant workers’ access to recognisable skills development opportunities and translate them into better employment and livelihoods opportunities, including by increasing bilateral and regional coherence of migration, employment, and skills support and frameworks in CLMT, and ASEAN.

Mr. Markus Buerli, Director of Cooperation at SDC in Cambodia, noted that skills development is key to improving the employability of migrant workers and their incomes and poverty reduction. “Close collaboration between governments, the private sector and relevant stakeholders in CLMT and with ASEAN plays a crucial role to achieve the overall objective of the project. Switzerland is pleased to continue its support to PROMISE II in line with our commitment to promote inclusive economic development in the region, including the important contribution of migrant workers,’’ he added.

For more information, please contact us at


SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 4 - Quality Education
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 5 - Gender Equality
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals