Promoting equality of opportunity for migrant workers

Combatting discrimination in employment of foreign workers
Reducing discrimination against itinerant labour
Workers' organizations are facing new challenges as a result of the increasingly complex phenomenon of international migration. Migrant workers and members of their families suffer from both [de jure] and [de facto] discrimination. Discrimination occurs when migrants are accorded inferior treatment compared with nationals in spite of similar education, qualifications or experience. It is common in access to jobs and training opportunities, work allocation and promotion within enterprises, terms and conditions of employment. Integration is seen as the only answer to the economic and social marginalization of migrants and the resulting tension and conflict.

ILO promotes equality of opportunity for migrant workers and their families.

Article 18 of the European Social Charter (Revised) (Strasbourg 1996) provides: With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to engage in a gainful occupation in the territory of any other Party, the Parties undertake: 1) to apply existing regulations in a spirit of liberality; 2) to simplify existing formalities and to reduce or abolish chancery dues and other charges payable by foreign workers or their employers; 3) to liberalize, individually or collectively, regulations governing the employment of foreign workers; and recognize: 4) the right of their nationals to leave the country to engage in a gainful occupation in the territories of the other Parties.

In 2004, the Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted a new plan of action designed to provide a fair deal for some 86 million migrant workers in the global economy. It was designed to ensure migrant workers are covered by the provisions of international labour standards, while benefiting from applicable national labour and social laws.

The framework comprises international guidelines on such aspects as: (1) Promoting 'managed migration' for employment purposes, including agreements between host countries and countries of origin addressing different aspects of migration - such as expanding avenues for regular migration, increasing portability of social security entitlements, promoting investments from remittances and promoting integration and social inclusion. (2) Promoting decent work for migrant workers. (3) Licensing and supervision of recruitment and contracting agencies for migrant workers in accordance with ILO conventions and recommendations, with the provision of clear and enforceable contracts by those agencies. (4) Preventing abusive practices, migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, protecting their human rights and preventing and combating irregular labour migration. (5) Addressing the specific risks for all migrant workers - men and women - in certain occupations and sectors with particular emphasis on dirty, demeaning and dangerous jobs, and on women in domestic service and the informal economy. (6) Improving labour inspection and creation of channels for migrant workers to lodge complaints and seek remedy without intimidation. (7) Promoting measures to ensure that all migrant workers benefit from the provisions of all relevant international labour standards. (8) Introducing measures to ensure that all migrant workers are covered by national labour legislation and applicable social laws. (9) Implementing policies to encourage return migration, reintegration into the country of origin and transfer of capital and technology by migrants.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions