Decent work for migrants in the Middle East

Project completed

The Middle East attracts high numbers of migrants from South/South East Asia. While migrants constitute an important contribution to the Gulf State economies and the development of their countries of origin, they remain vulnerable to exploitation and abuse along the migration chain. This programme builds on gains made during its first phase and seeks to improve legal frameworks and their implementation in favour of decent work conditions for migrants. The approach combines operational support to migrants, capacity building of national and civil society actors with regional and global policy dialogue efforts.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Near East
Employment & economic development
Labour migration
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019
CHF  10’770’000

There is increasing awareness in the Middle East of the need to address challenges related to migrants’ vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. SDC’s continued work with governments, civil society actors and mulilateral organisations in this effort builds on lessons from the previous phase as well as its work in South/South East Asia - the main region of origin of migrant workers in the Middle East. In the context of the protracted Syrian crisis, this programme inserts itself into the comprehensive aid approach driven by all Swiss actors in the region.


Decent working and living conditions for migrants contribute to the potential of migration for equitable, sustainable development and poverty reduction. This will be achieved by optimizing the benefits of migration and minimizing its adverse consequences.

Target groups

Vulnerable female and male migrant workers.

Medium-term outcomes

Governments’ commitment in the Middle East for labour right reforms and new policies has progressively resulted in improved framework conditions and the application of new policies.

Local civil society actors and human rights advocacy groups are strengthened to actively advocate for migrant rights, defend the most vulnerable migrant groups and facilitate access to reliable services.

Linkages are strengthened and coordination improved among relevant stakeholders of the countries of destination (in the Middle East) and those of the countries of origin (South and South East Asia).


Results from previous phases:  

During Phase I, a diverse set of partnerships was established (both with governments and multilateral and civil society), research was carried out and projects providing support to migrants were implemented. Training and capacity building for advocacy for migrant rights was carried out.

Working assumptions were validated, the operational set-up with the staff of the SDC’s Global Programme Migration and Development (GMPD) in Berne and the field (Amman) was established and the strategic approach confirmed (bilateral and multilateral projects for a mutually enforcing link between operational activities and policy dialogue). Continued efforts with all stakeholders involved are needed across the corridors to maintain the improvement of framework conditions for migrant workers on the political agenda and build on already made gains.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • International Labor Organization
  • SDC Field Office

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    10’770’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    10’451’380
Project phases Phase 3 15.07.2019 - 30.06.2023   (Current phase)

Phase 2 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.05.2012 - 31.07.2015   (Completed)