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ILO Migration website:

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1 ILO Migration website:
ILO multilateral framework on labour migration (MLF): A rights based approach Presentation: “Trade Union Training on Migrant Workers Rights & Promotion of Social Protection”, ILO-ACTRAV Workshop, August 2007, Jakarta By Piyasiri Wickramasekara Senior Migration Specialist International Labour Office, Geneva April 2007 ILO Migration website:

2 Structure of presentation
Issues in governance of labour migration ILO approach to labour migration Case for a multilateral framework (MLF) Main features of MLF Relevance to Asia Follow up

3 Governance of international labour migration: major issues
Rampant exploitation and abuse of migrant workers Growth of irregular migration including smuggling and trafficking of persons Skill exodus or “Brain drain” from developing countries Poor integration of migrants in host societies Lack of credible migration policies World Commission on Social Dimension of Globalization – above are collateral problems from lack of multilateral framework to govern global labour migration

4 Possible options for an international migration regime
Create a new agency: “World Migration Organization” – objections from major countries. Mandate an existing agency or agencies: GCIM considered this option. Establish international standards: ILO and UN migrant worker instruments exist but limited ratification and compliance Promote non-binding frameworks ILO multilateral framework on labour migration Berne Initiative- International agenda for migration management (IAMM)- 2004 Establish global consultative forums: Global Migration Group; Global Forum on Migration and Development (State-led outside UN). Regional integration agreements as a model: European Union- free movement of persons & labour

5 International normative framework - Migrant specific
ILO Conventions the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97) – 46 ratifications the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143) – 22 ratifications United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their families, 1990 – 37 ratifications. (in force since mid-2003) 79 countries have ratified at least one instrument.

6 Case for a multilateral framework (WCSDG)
“Steps have to be taken to build a multilateral framework that provides uniform and transparent rules for the cross-border movement of people and balances the interests of both migrants themselves and of countries of origin and destination. All countries stand to benefit from an orderly and managed process of international migration that can enhance global productivity and eliminate exploitative practices.”. “Fair rules for trade and capital flows need to be complemented by fair rules for the cross-border movement of people.” A fairer Globalization: Creating opportunities for all, Report of the World Commission of the Social Dimension of Globalization, ILO, Geneva, 2004.

7 The case for a multilateral framework (contd).
With the expansion and mounting complexity of labour migration, the emerging era of mass migration needs new tools and clear rules for governance of labour migration; Countries reluctant to ratify binding Conventions Risk of a new Convention trying to lower existing standards Take into account new developments (1999 ILO survey) Greater role of private sector & private employment services; Feminisation of labour migration Growth of irregular migration Proliferation of temporary labour migration schemes Current emphasis on migration-development nexus

8 Why should the International Labour Organization (ILO) take the initiative?
Tripartite structure with the main stakeholders (governments, employers and workers): broader constituency; Mandate on labour issues and vulnerable workers including migrant workers; Declaration. Competence on standard setting; C97 and C143 Long-standing experience in promoting social justice in . the world of work. These confer on the ILO an obligation and unique role to play in developing principles and guidelines for governments, social partners and other stakeholders in international labour migration policy and practice.

9 ILO approach to labour migration
As a labour market and decent work issue; work with labour ministries; View labour migration as a positive factor in development; Tripartite approach to labour migration; Rights based approach; pioneered international instruments since the 1930s; Promoting international cooperation & multilateral approaches.

10 Background to the Discussion
Conclusions of previous ILO meetings – Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Migration (21-25 April, 1997) General Survey on Migrant Worker Instruments, Report 3b presented to ILC, 1999: On low ratification of ILO MW instruments Governing Body 283rd session – March Decision to place the issue of migrant workers on 2004 ILC agenda World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization report 2004 – conclusions of the report on the lack of a multilateral framework to govern international migration

11 2004 ILC General Discussion on migrant workers: A landmark event
Largest global discussion on international migration since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Supported by 177 member states An intensive and comprehensive discussion spread over two and a half weeks Product of social dialogue: among governments, workers and employers. Adoption of a comprehensive plan of action and practical guidelines entrusted to a long established multilateral institution that has the constitutional mechanism, normative foundations, structure, and processes for follow-up and implementation. International Labour Conference (ILC) 2004 adopted by consensus “Resolution concerning a fair deal for migrant workers in a global economy”

12 Resolution concerning a fair deal for migrant workers in a global economy
Conclusions on a fair deal for migrant workers Issues and challenges; paras 1-22 A non-binding multilateral framework for migrant workers in a global economy- paras 23-26 International labour standards and other relevant instruments: paras 27-30 Capacity building and technical assistance: pr 31-32 Development of a global knowledge base – para 33 Social dialogue: para 34 Follow up: paras 35-36

13 ILO Plan of Action on Migrant Workers, ILC 2004: components
Development of a non-binding multilateral framework for a rights-based approach to labour migration Wider application of international labour standards and other relevant instruments; Support for implementation of the ILO Global Employment Agenda at national level; Capacity building, awareness raising and technical assistance; Strengthening social dialogue; Improving the information and knowledge base Mechanisms for follow-up.

14 ILO Multilateral framework on labour migration: (MLF) – objectives
Non-binding principles and guidelines for a rights-based approach to labour migration adopted in November 2005 by tripartite experts & endorsed by Governing Body in March 2006. More effective labour migration management and its governance Improved protection for migrant workers Promoting migration-development linkages. Reinforcing international cooperation & multilateral processes. Downloadable from:

15 Recognizes state sovereignty over migration policy.
ILO MLF - Features A framework of non-binding principles, guidelines and good practices serves as a tool kit for guiding migration policies in countries. Provides a wide menu of policy options Recognizes state sovereignty over migration policy. Nine themes: 15 broad principles and corresponding guidelines and compilation of 132 best practices.

16 MLF Themes Decent work Means for international cooperation
Global knowledge base Effective management of labour migration Protection of migrant workers Prevention of, and protection against abusive practices Migration process Social integration and inclusion Migration and development

17 Features of the ILO Multilateral Framework – contd.
The only comprehensive collection of principles and guidelines on migration policy and management, which is also firmly grounded in international instruments and best practices currently practised across the globe. Tripartite ownership based on tripartite negotiations and consensus: not state-driven or produced by an agency/Commission like IAMM or GCIM report Deals only with labour migration – the subject of ILO mandate - and addresses the concerns of both source and host countries, and migrant workers themselves. Recognizes the role of social dialogue and value of social partner participation in migration policy.

18 Rights based  The ILO Framework is “rights-based”: brings together all the principles and guidelines found in international instruments which apply to labour migration and its good governance. Principles include  Those that state the fundamental rights of migrant workers found in international instruments Those that would help create orderly migration processes Those that apply to rights in the workplace Those that would help states benefit from migration

19 Objections raised by some states
Too prescriptive: but it is a non-binding framework. Accords too many rights to workers in irregular status: MLF does not create any new rights – merely restates rights contained in existing instruments. Impinges on state sovereignty: principle of state sovereignty recognized throughout the MLF. Goes beyond ILO mandate in covering migration & development: but development is very much a decent work issue. Lacks defintions of categories of migrant workers – “regular” and “irregular” status, and “temporary” and “permanent” migrant workers: these are well-covered in the literature.

20 Highlights of MLF relevant to Asia
Guideline 4.5. ensuring that labour migration policies are gender-sensitive and address the problems and particular abuses women often face in the migration process; Principle 5: Expanding avenues for regular labour migration should be considered, taking into account labour market needs and demographic trends. Principle 6: Social dialogue Principle 11: prevent abusive practices, migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons; preventing irregular labour migration. prohibiting the retention of the identity documents of migrant workers; Principle 12- Migration process Principle 13: licensing and supervising recruitment and placement services for migrant workers Many good practices drawn from Asia; Philippines, etc.

21 Multilateral framework guidelines on temporary migrant workers
5.5: ensuring that temporary work schemes respond to established labour market needs, and that these schemes respect the principle of equal treatment between migrant and national workers, and that workers in temporary schemes enjoy the rights referred to in principles 8 and 9 of this Framework. 9.7. ensuring that restrictions on the rights of temporary migrant workers do not exceed relevant international standards; 15.8. adopting policies to encourage circular and return migration and reintegration into the country of origin, including by promoting temporary labour migration schemes and circulation-friendly visa policies.

22 ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers - Significance
Emphasis on protection and promotion of rights – accords well with MLF Obligations on sending states, receiving states and ASEAN Recognises the contributions of migrant workers to the society and economy of both receiving states and sending states Intensify efforts to protect the fundamental human rights, promote the welfare and uphold human dignity of migrant workers; ASEAN: Promote decent, humane, productive, dignified and remunerative employment for migrant workers; develop an ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers. MLF can be a model.

23 Follow up action Wide circulation and publicity for the Framework
Translations- Arabic, Chinese, Russian; translations into national languages encouraged. Mobilizing office-wide efforts for support to the Action Plan and the MLF; regional action Continuing dialogue and cooperation with other concerned international agencies: Global Migration Group, European Commission, OECD, etc. Incorporate MLF in Decent work country programmes. Work with social partners – unions and employers and civil society to promote the MLF

24 Follow up in Asia ILO ROAP regional action plan on labour migration and decent work country programmes Work with ILO TC projects Expand the compendium of good practices: more examples from Asia including from unions Mobilise support of regional social partners, civil society and regional agencies: ACRAV workshops in SE & South Asia ASEAN Declaration and proposed instrument

25 Important documents ILO report prepared for the discussion – A fair deal for migrant workers in the global economy Report of the Committee on Migrant Workers The full report of the Migrant Workers, committee which captures in summary the various debates The Resolution concerning a fair deal for migrant workers in the global economy, which contains the ILO Plan of Action. pp of above report (pr-22.pdf). ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration Note on the Proceedings: Expert Group Meeting on the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration

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