Fact sheet

Labour Migration Highlights No. 2: Labour Migration and Cooperatives

Cooperatives can offer migrant workers options for better lives. This fact sheet offers examples of successful migrant workers' cooperatives and discusses policy challenges moving forward.

Cooperative enterprises have improved the lives of women and men migrant workers and their families for decades. Migrants find income and jobs, access affordable goods and services, and find empowerment through cooperative enterprises, participating in the cooperative movement. Moreover, cooperative enterprises are facilitating economic, social and cultural integration or re-integration of migrant workers in both destination and home countries.

Cooperatives offer migrant workers a means to improve their lives. The ILO’s Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975 (No. 151), implicitly acknowledges the capacity of cooperatives to contribute to migrant workers’ enjoyment of equality of opportunity and treatment as well as overall well-being by supporting migrants’ “rights to full membership in any form of co-operative”.

Current trends indicate that international migration will continue to increase and migrants’ needs evolve. In providing support services and opportunities for migrant workers while they work abroad as well as when they return, cooperatives or the cooperative model of enterprise can contribute to the protection, empowerment and development of migrant workers, their families and local communities.