10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour

ILO welcomes ASEAN forum recommendations to ensure labour rights protection to domestic workers

10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), held in Manila, concluded with adoption of a strong set of recommendations that recognize domestic workers as workers in ASEAN.

Press release | 02 November 2017
BANGKOK (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization hails the recommendations adopted by 10 ASEAN Member States to advance protection for domestic workers in the region.

According to the ILO global estimates on migrant workers, there are about 9 million domestic workers in South-East Asia and the Pacific, and more than 2 million of them are migrant domestic workers.

“They are among the most vulnerable groups of workers as they work in isolation, often without clear terms of employment, and often excluded from the scope of labour legislation,” explains Anna Engblom, Senior Programme Manager of ILO’s TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme.

The 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), hosted by Government of The Philippines in Manila on 25-26 October 2017, brought together delegates from 10 ASEAN Member States to discuss how to achieve decent work for domestic workers in ASEAN. More than 80 delegates including representatives of governments, workers’ organizations, employers’ organizations and civil society organizations, the ASEAN Secretariat, and international organizations including ILO, UN Women and IOM participated in the discussions. Representatives of the governments of Australia and Canada attended as observers.

Recommendations adopted by consensus at the 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour “recognize domestic workers as workers and remove outdated terminologies that diminish the dignity of domestic workers. Towards this end, ASEAN Member States should progressively move towards inclusion of domestic workers in their labour and social legislations.”

Total 19 recommendations were adopted to outline concrete measures towards achieving decent work for domestic workers in ASEAN, covering strengthening of standards for the protection of migrant domestic workers in ASEAN and improving the implementation of policies and support services for migrant domestic workers in ASEAN.

"We are thrilled to see this commitment from ASEAN Member States to advance protection of domestic workers,” says Anna Engblom. “This is very much in line with the ILO position and provides a basis for the ratification of the domestic workers’ convention.”

Key measures recommended by the AFML include adoption of standard employment contracts for domestic workers, strengthening of labour inspection and other compliance mechanisms, extension of protection legislation, pre-departure and pre-employment orientation of workers as well as their employers, promotion of fair recruitment practices and reduction of worker-paid recruitment fees, increased professionalize among domestic workers through skills training and strengthening the practices of tripartism and social dialogue at national levels.

The ASEAN AFML is an open platform to review, discuss and exchange good practices and ideas between governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society on key issues facing migrant workers in Southeast Asia. The AFML is the only migration forum in Asia that is carried out in a tripartite nature with additional involvement of civil society organizations. Each year the forum develops recommendations to advance the implementation of the principles of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (Cebu Declaration). The 10th AFML was hosted by the Government of the Philippines as the current chair of the ASEAN and the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW).

ILO’s TRIANGLE in ASEAN supports the AFML process each year. This support includes preparing a background paper to inform the discussion, convening national tripartite preparatory workshops in several ASEAN Member States prior to the regional meeting, and supporting engagement and participation of workers’ and employers’ organizations in the AFML process. TRIANGLE in ASEAN (2015-2025) is a partnership between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Global Affairs Canada and the ILO.

For more information

please contact: Ms Anna Engblom, Senior Programme Manager, TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme, engblom@ilo.org.