The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises that migration is a powerful driver of sustainable development for migrants and their communities. According to its Strategic Vision, IOM strives to optimise the benefits of labour migration for both the countries of origin and destination as well as for the migrants themselves.

Experts estimate that there are approximately 3 million Ukrainian migrant workers abroad at any given time, the majority in Europe, with Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, and, since recently, Baltic states being the main destination countries among the EU Member States. Migrants are the most prominent investors in Ukraine’s economy: estimated remittances inflows in 2020 exceeded USD 15.2 bln (WorldBank). The Ukrainian diaspora, estimated between 5.9 to 20 million people present in more than 100 countries  worldwide, has significant financial and social capital that could be used to advance sustainable development in Ukraine. Beyond financial resources, Ukrainian diaspora and migrants could contribute through skills and knowledge transfer, developing a variety of sectors, such as health, education, and others. At the same time, the number of migrant workers in Ukraine is gradually increasing, and if well-managed, the foreign workers can fill critical roles in the country, satisfying labour shortages and driving innovation.

In Ukraine, IOM supports the Government in harnessing the development potential of migration, particularly by:

  • promoting migrant entrepreneurship and boosting employment opportunities;
  • fostering diaspora engagement as development actors and remittances investment;
  • and offering evidence-based policy advice to enhance labour migration management.
Enterprise Development

SME Boost: Economic Integration of Internally Displaced People and Business Recovery

To contribute to economic adaptation, recovery, and growth in Ukraine during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, IOM Ukraine provides support primarily for decent job retention and creation targeting the affected micro-, small-, and medium- enterprises (MSMEs) that are run by or employ, women, youth, people with disabilities, returning migrants, IDPs, conflict-affected population and other vulnerable categories throughout the country focusing on the areas with deep pockets of poverty.

The support will be provided as:

  • Stimulus Packages comprising grants and consulting services for SMEs to recover and adapt their business;
  • “1+1” matching funds for returned migrants to start a new business in Ukraine and for agricultural co-operatives to generate employment in rural areas;
  • one-off grants for micro-enterprises run by IDPs, former victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, as well as for social enterprises, to survive the crisis, retain the existing jobs, and create new ones;
  • training support through a voucher system to targeted MSMEs to ensure that the best practices, including sustainability standards, are integrated into their operations.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through KfW Development Bank and runs from November 2021 until May 2024, with the aim of helping over 300 MSMEs.



Diaspora Engagement

Diaspora, or transnational communities, connect countries and communities across the world. They share a sense of belonging to more than one community and, through their human, social, financial, and cultural capital, make an immense contribution to the development of both the countries they live in and come from.

IOM Ukraine aims to collaborate closely with diaspora communities and state stakeholders to build trust and create a conducive environment for cooperation. An integral element of this work is to support the capacity development of both the state counterparts and the Diaspora community to leverage existing resources. In addition, to working towards further inclusion of the Ukrainian diaspora in the social-economic process and opportunities within Ukraine.

The IOM comprehensive three-pillared strategy for diaspora engagement is centred on the “3Es Approach”: to enable, engage and empower migrants and diaspora communities. Through this strategic approach, our key priorities in Ukraine are:

  • to advance understanding of the over 20 million Ukrainian diasporas living in more than 100 countries worldwide, their professional interests, and capacities;
  • to build trust through creating open and transparent communication channels that foster dialogue between the Government of Ukraine and diaspora communities;
  • to facilitate the transfer of skills and expertise from diaspora members and leverage migrant remittances and investments to advance various sectors within the Ukrainian economy.

Some recent successful examples of our work:


In 2021, IOM partnered with the Ukrainian World Congress and UkraineInvest to conduct a series of webinars that explored ways to engage the potential of Ukraine’s diaspora and migrant community in the country’s economic development. These conversations have shaped the strategic agenda for a multi-stakeholder approach to development, investment, tourism, and capacity building between the diaspora community and the Ukrainian counterparts.

Diaspora Infosheet (2022)

Labour Migration Research and Publications

The availability of accurate, comparable, and timely migration-related data is crucial to developing evidence-based policy, legislative initiatives, and operational responses corresponding to national needs and priorities. In the aftermath of the pandemic, data will become even more important to understand changing mobility trends, assess the impact of the pandemic, and further harness migration potential to contribute to the country’s socioeconomic development. IOM Ukraine strives to promote evidence-based programming and policy-making in Ukraine, working with academia and state stakeholders, and conducts regular surveys related to migration and development that produce recommendations for policymakers, civil society, diaspora groups, migrant associations, and other stakeholders.

1+1 Initiative

In 2019, IOM Ukraine started implementation of the 1+1 initiative supporting communities prone to economically induced outward migration, migrant workers and their families with co-funding for creation and development of businesses. For each dollar of own funds invested in developing their business in Ukraine, participants receive another dollar as a non-refundable grant for the purchase of equipment. In general, the programme provides equipment worth up to USD 4,000. Same principle is applied to support communities prone to economically induced outward migration, expand economic opportunities, improve social services, and induce jobs creation. IOM is currently co-funding 12 community development projects with the amount up to USD 20,000 on the similar 1+1 principle. Implementation of this pilot initiative in Ukraine is funded by USAID.

Following two cycles of call for proposals in 2019 and 2021, IOM received over 300 application from the labour migrants. Applications came from all the regions of Ukraine and cover a wide variety of spheres: industry, agriculture, construction, services and education. Pre-selected participants received professional consultations for writing a business plan, which they submitted for competition. After successful defense sessions, beneficiaries started receiving the requested equipment.