Download the IOE Position Paper on International Labour Migration
Approximately 3%of the world's population– some 232 million people – are living (and in large part working) in a country other than that of their birth. Sometimes described as the "unfinished business of globalisation," labour migration issues raise complex and sensitive political, human rights, economic and social concerns, as well as an array of legal and regulatory challenges. Migration accordingly occupies a prominent place on both national and multilateral policy agendas, and in public discourse and debate.
The Business Stake in Migration Policy
Employers regard migration as a positive phenomenon. It is a vehicle for fulfilling personal aspirations, for balancing labour supply and demand, for sparking innovation, and for transferring and spreading skills. Businesses are frequent and important users of national migration systems. Their experience with the practical workings of immigration policies, as well as knowledge of emerging market and staffing trends, can supply important information, to governments and international organisations to enhance migration governance. Thus, the participation of the private sector in public-private dialogue is essential to the development of well-regulated migration systems. All employers benefit from clear, transparent, and efficient national immigration laws and policies that permit the movement of workers when and where they are needed. Overly complex and sometimes frequently changing systems hinder compliance with national laws and threaten labour market protections.
Fair and Ethical Recruitment
At the other end of the spectrum, few governments have well-regulated systems for the legal movement of low skilled workers. This situation enables many low skilled migrants to become the victims of abusive recruitment practices, such has debt bondage, forced labour and human trafficking often carried out by unregulated intermediaries to secure jobs abroad. Confiscation of their passports or other documentation may leave them virtual prisoners.
In an attempt to address these concerns, the IOE recently signed an agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), committing to work at the global level on reducing exploitative recruitment practices in international labour migration.
The IOM’s Public Private Alliance for Fair and Ethical Recruitment is designed to create a community of like-minded partners committed to finding practical and operational tools for use by governments and business to combat unscrupulous recruitment practices. One such tool is the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a voluntary accreditation system for recruitment intermediaries so that they can demonstrate their commitment to fair and ethical practices. IOE’s work with the IOM has already led to the adoption of a Code of Conduct on Ethical Recruitment Principles. An implementation Protocol is currently being discussed.
Similarly, with the participation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the IOE and the International Confederation of Private Employment Services (CIETT), the ILO has itself launched a Fair Recruitment Initiative, which aims to prevent human trafficking, promote safe migration, and reduce the costs of labour mobility. With regard to international labour standards on migration, the IOE is pushing for revision of the two main ILO Conventions 97 and 143 to make sure that they address current migration challenges.
The IOE has also established a working group on international Labour Migration that is chaired by Ronnie Goldberg, IOE Regional Vice-President for North America. Three partners: Randstad, Fragomen and the Global Council for Immigration (CFGI) are members.
The IOE is working with the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) to strengthen the GFMD Public Private Sector Interaction Mechanism so employers can actively contribute to migration policy debates by bringing in their extensive experience and expertise on labour migration issues. The interaction with employers will enable governments to understand how migration policies and practices affect business operations at national level. The enhanced engagement will also contribute to improving migration governance.
IOE POLICY WORKING GROUP ON INTERNATIONAL LABOUR MIGRATION
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