Fair recruitment corridor piloted between Nepal and Jordan (in the garment sector)
The fair recruitment corridor pilot between Nepal and Jordan was designed in collaboration with the Better Work Jordan and social partners. Through the Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment (FAIR), the ILO linked up with a private employment agency that developed procedures for fair recruitment of Nepali workers in the garment sector in Jordan in line with the ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for fair recruitment (GPOG). The pilot was undertaken with 4 factories in Jordan who had expressed interest to participate.
The project also partnered with Safer Migration Initiative (SaMi) in Nepal to provide a month long skills training for work in the garment sector in Jordan, along with pre-departure awareness training aimed at providing the workers with accurate information about their employment and labour rights in Jordan.
The project also worked with General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) as well as The General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment & Clothing Industries in Jordan (JTGCU) to facilitate Nepali migrant workers’ access to justice in case of irregularities in the recruitment and employment process, whilst also informing about their rights, especially with regards to collective bargaining.
Proof of impact/progress
As a result, 160 Nepali workers were fairly recruited under the pilot. The impact evaluation by Tufts University concluded the following key benefits of fair recruitment for workers (compared to workers who migrated for work outside the pilot):
- Protection from contract deception and debt bondage as fairly recruited workers paid no recruitment fees and had less migration related debt.
- More positive personality traits, and more control over their working conditions (fairly recruited workers were likely to feel proud of their work and were comfortable seeking help from their supervisors upon arrival)
- A better understanding of the terms of their contracts
- More likely to reach their production target
The study also documented the following benefits of fair recruitment: It increases worker voice and well-being, fosters an improved working environment, positively impacts performance at work, and benefits both workers and their employers (i.e. workers that paid recruitment fees were less likely to reach their production targets and reported a poorer match between their skills and the job they were recruited for).
The study also found that decent work deficits in the destination country may erode some of the benefits of fair recruitment, suggesting that work on fair recruitment needs to go hand in hand with efforts to improve working conditions of migrant and national workers at destination.
Other promising features
Non-discrimination / inclusion of hard to reach and/or most vulnerable migrants
The majority of the beneficiaries of the pilot have been women migrant workers (154 of the 160 beneficiaries were women). The intervention initially focused on migrant workers from areas most affected by the earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015.
Potential for replication or extension
In the course of the implementation of the pilot, one recruitment agency in Nepal sending the highest number of workers to Jordan has indicated interest to adopt a fair business model and work on the Nepal-Jordan corridor. The agency has undergone an audit and the ILO is supporting the agency to address the gaps identified in the audit.
Over the years, governance of female migration from Nepal has been restrictive with imposition of various forms of migration bans particularly because of the abuse and exploitation faced by women migrant workers who predominantly migrate into domestic work. Hence, the Jordanian garment sector has emerged as a meaningful alternative for domestic work.