ILO: Extending social security coverage to African migrant workers and their families (MIGSEC)
- Responsible Organizations: The International Labour Organization (ILO) (International Organisation)
- ILO Regions: Africa
- Country(ies): Burundi; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Rwanda; Senegal; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia
- Theme(s): Protection of migrant workers; Social integration and inclusion
- Start date: 01 Oct 2008; End date: 31 Dec 2010
The objective of MIGSEC is to strengthen national and regional strategies for the extension of social security coverage to African migrant workers and their families.
- Federal Republic of Germany, Regular Budget Supplementary Account (RBSA) Funds for 2008-2010.
Activities, processes and steps involved
Migrant workers, estimated globally at 95 million in 2005, are often denied access to social security coverage in destination countries due to their particular circumstances, especially the length of their periods of employment and residence. They risk the loss of entitlement to social security benefits in their country of origin due to their absence, and may at the same time encounter restrictions under the social security system of the host country. Although migrant workers worldwide face such barriers to social security coverage in varying degrees, they are especially acute for African migrant workers and their families. The ILO Regional Office for Africa is therefore, implementing the project on Extending social security coverage to African migrant workers and their families (MIGSEC).
The strategic approach of the project consists of working with governments and social security institutions, in consultation with the social partners (workers and employers), to strengthen national and regional strategies for the extension of social security coverage to African migrant workers and their families.
The project has five areas of intervention:
a)Promote bilateral social security agreements within African countries and with extra-continental countries, consistent with relevant ILO instruments and the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration.
b)Reinforce and revitalize sub-regional Conventions on social security and promote the inclusion of social security provisions in labour migration programmes, including temporary and circular migration schemes
c)Strengthen institutional capacities for the formulation and implementation of social security strategies
d)Assess the feasibility of extending social security coverage of African migrant workers and their families through community-based approaches
e)Assess the feasibility of developing and implementing voluntary insurance schemes to migrant workers abroad
African migrant workers and their families
The ILO Regional Office for Africa, in collaboration with the ILO International Migration Programme (MIGRANT) and the Social Security Department (SECSOC) in Geneva; Governments of Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Mauritius
This is an ongoing project, and two outputs can be listed on the basis of work up to now.
-Advisory services the Government of Mauritius on the negotiation of bilateral social security agreements: MIGSEC is currently providing support to the Government of Mauritius and to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Empowerment in the field of social security coverage of Mauritian migrant workers, in particular on the issue of the portability of social security benefits.
The Government of Mauritius has identified four destination countries as its major priorities for the conclusion of social security agreements: Australia, Canada, France and the United Kingdom. A road map has been agreed on the preparation and further negotiation of bilateral social security agreements.
-Advisory services to the East African Community (EAC) for development of an EAC multilateral social security agreement, as an Annex to the Protocol for the Establishment of the EAC Common Market signed in November 2009. The Annex on Social Security will establish a framework for coordination of EAC member states social security schemes. The objective of the EAC Secretariat is to develop a draft annex on social security which will be adopted by the EAC heads of government in June 2010.
A Draft model annex has been prepared and discussed at a regional workshop entitled Social Security benefits within a Common Market during 1923 October 2009 in Kampala. This workshop produced a tripartite consensus on a road map for the implementation of social security provisions in the framework of the EAC Common Market.
Relevant criteria for assessment
1. Respect for migrant worker rights
The project promotes bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements to provide social security coverage and benefits for migrants, among destination and origin countries in line with the provisions of major international Conventions on migrant workers as the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised),1949, (NO.97), the Migrant Workers Convention, 1975, (No.143) and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, 1990, (49A), and specific social security Conventions of the ILO as Equality of Treatment (social security) Convention,1962, (C 118); Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention, 1982, (C157); and Maintenance of Social Security Rights Recommendation, 1983, (R167).
MIGSEC outcomes are linked to the achievement of the Decent Work Agenda for Africa (2007-2015), which is the ILOs tripartite contribution towards making measurable progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa by 2015.
More specifically, MIGSEC overall outcome responds to one of the principal challenges raised by the constituents and stated in the Agenda, which recognises that the main challenge for social protection in Africa is the extension of coverage of social security. Also, MIGSEC responds to the agenda¿s specific priorities by providing efforts to complete or update, and effectively implement legal labour mobility regimes in regional integration initiatives by coordinating relevant aspects of labour codes, migration regulations, social security provisions and other legislation.
3. (Positive) Impact
Through the implementation of the project, the capacity of several ILO African member States to develop policies and programmes focused on the protection of migrant workers will be increased. It will also improve access of migrant workers to social protection benefits, in particular for temporary and seasonal migrant workers who are normally excluded.
4. Potential for replication and extension (adaptability)
The model proposed is flexible and adaptable to different situations; it can be considered by other countries in Africa and elsewhere, willing to ensure social security coverage of their migrants abroad.
The project is assessing the feasibility of using migrant remittances to develop micro insurance in the field of health benefits for families of migrants left behind.
6. Broad-based participatory
The project has demonstrated a high level of involvement by social partners during its implementation up to now.
At the end of the project it is expected that the Governments assisted by MIGSEC will have developed national and regional strategies for the extension of social security coverage to African migrant workers on their own. Ownership of the programmes by tripartite partners in the project countries, and capacity building of concerned staff and institutions will ensure sustainability.
While the practice is yet to be completed in fully, the serious involvement of several African governments and their commitment to conclude agreements in Social Security is a good indication of the effectiveness of the practice.
- Mr. Edward Tamagno
Senior Specialist Social Security and International Migration
ILO RO for Africa
- Samia Kazi Aoul
Social Security and International Migration Officer
Tel: Tel: +41.22.799.7182