Improving the collection and production of labour migration statistics for evidence-based policy making

Improvement of labour migration data collection, analysis and dissemination is urgently needed in order to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration opportunities for migrant workers, their integration in destination countries as well as their reintegration in origin countries upon their return. Evidence-based policies rely on labour migration statistics, labour market information systems and labour needs assessments on the labour market supply and demand (at the sectoral and occupational level) of migrant workers. It is also extremely useful in permitting to facilitate job/skills matching. Labour migration statistics are needed to ensure that labour migration is harmonised with employment, social protection, education/training and development policies. This work contributes to ILO’s global International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) Database.

The International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) has recently adopted the “2018 Guidelines concerning statistics of international labour migration” to help countries to develop their national statistical system by collecting comparable statistics on international labour migration in order to provide an improved information base. According to the Guidelines “Such a system should be designed to obtain a better understanding of the migration process; to assess the socio‐demographic characteristics and conditions of work and the equitable treatment of different groups of international migrant workers; and to study the relative status of the disadvantaged groups of international migrant workers that are of specific policy concern. The ICLS Guidelines include concepts and definitions, core indicators, information on data sources, and measurement issues.

ILO’s efforts to improve the collection and production of labour migration statistics at the national, regional and global levels have also resulted in the production of the 2015 and 2018 ILO Global Estimates on Migrant Workers.

Within the ambit of the JLMP, the ILO is providing support to the African Union in the production of the second edition of the Report on Labour Migration Statistics in Africa. The ILO has also developed a labour migration module/questionnaire that can be inserted into labour force and household surveys to collect data on labour migration.

In addition, the ILO has profound experience in supporting governments developing Labour Market Information Systems (LMIS). A number of diagnostic studies on LMIS were conducted by the ILO in Africa on strengthening LMIS at national, sub regional and continental levels from 2013 to 2018. The main purpose of national exercises was to diagnose the most critical constraints that countries face to implementing a comprehensive LMIS. Critical constraints are those whose removal could yield in improving the functioning of labour markets and achieving sustainability of the system itself. Studies were conducted successfully in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal, and Togo. As a follow up to these studies, national action plans were developed to implement the LMIS.

National and regional capacity building workshops on labour market statistics and analysis were also organised by the ILO with special sessions on LMIS and migration statistics, including the African Regional Meeting of Labour Statisticians which was held in 2017 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. 40 participants from 34 countries, including representatives from the African Development Bank, COMESA, SADC and UNECA, were present.

Furthermore, the ILO has contributed with technical support to the following LMIS documents:
  • “A roadmap for the development of labour market information systems in Africa”, August 2016, in collaboration with the AU;
  • “Study on labour market and migration information systems in the ECOWAS region and Mauritania, 2016, under the project “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa)”.
  • “Guidelines for producing labour market indicators from existing data sources in Africa”, to be published by the AU in 2019.