ILO launches new fair migration project for the Middle East

The project will promote fair migration and address forced labour and trafficking, focusing on the domestic and construction work sectors.

News | 07 September 2016
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BEIRUT, Lebanon (ILO News) – The ILO, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), has launched a new regional labour migration project to promote fair migration and address forced labour and trafficking for labour exploitation.

The project – Regional Fair Migration Project in the Middle East (FAIRWAY) – will focus on the plight of the most vulnerable workers: those in domestic and construction work.

The project aims to promote policy change informed by evidence-based research; support improved implementation of laws and policies; and address discriminatory attitudes towards migrant workers.

The project operates at the regional level and offers country-specific assistance and support in selected countries in the Middle East.

SDC has contributed over 2 million USD to the project that will be implemented until mid-2018. “Addressing key concerns related to wages, occupational safety and health, labour inspection and access to justice can ensure that migration is a secure and positive experience for millions of migrant workers in the Middle East” said SDC Regional Advisor for the Middle East Pascal Raess.

“The FAIRWAY project is an opportunity to implement the ILO's Fair Migration Agenda and Fair Recruitment Initiative in the region. Building on the momentum of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue and efforts of the ILO’s Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS), the FAIRWAY project offers solutions to build a migration regime that mutually benefits countries of origin and destination, and workers and their employers,” said Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States.

Today, ILO ROAS and the FAIRWAY project launch a new white paper Ways forward in the recruitment of low skilled workers in Asia-Arab States corridor. The paper offers a comprehensive assessment of the recruitment industry between the Asia and Arab States regions, and the gaps that enable fraudulent practices by agencies and outsourcing companies. In sharing global good practices and evidence-informed recommendations, the paper offers innovative solutions for policy makers in the region.

The Middle East region hosts more than 32 million migrants, most of them migrant workers. Migrant workers make up the majority of the population in Bahrain, Kuwait,  Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (and more than 80 per cent of the population in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates); while in construction and domestic work in Gulf States, migrant workers make up over 95 per cent of the work force.

It is estimated that some 600,000 migrants are victims of forced labour in the region.

For further information visit the FAIRWAY project page ( and the ILO’s Regional Office for Arab States labour migration page (