Migrant workers

Promoting safe migration from Pakistan: Induction training of staff for Migrant Resource Centres in Islamabad and Lahore

Participants from the two recently established Migrant Resource Centres in Islamabad and Lahore received training to better equip their clients – the migrants - with knowledge and strategies to safeguard their labour and human rights throughout migration cycle.

Press release | Islamabad, Pakistan | 29 October 2015
Islamabad (joint press release) – One of the most effective ways to combat common abuses of migrant such as underpayment of wages, confiscation of passports, substandard working conditions and confinement in the workplace, is to ensure that migrants are equipped with knowledge and strategies to safeguard their labour- and human rights throughout the migration cycle.

Recognizing this, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and the Punjab Department of Labour & Human Resource have established two Migrant Resource Centers (MRCs) in Islamabad and Lahore with the support from the ILO-EU funded project “South Asia Labour Migration Governance” (SALM) and the ICMPD/EU funded project “Silk Routes Partnership for Migration”. While MRCs already exists in other labour sending countries in South Asia, the centers in Islamabad and Lahore are the first to be established in Pakistan. The centers will provide a range of support services to (potential) migrant and their families including information, counseling, referral and pre-departure orientation.

To equip the staff of the two Migrant Resource Centers with adequate knowledge and skills on how to best serve their clients, a three-day induction training was organized from 28 - 30 October, 2015.

Such centers are essential to provide protection from exploitation during recruitment and employment."

Ms Belinda Chanda, Programme Analyst, ILO Pakistan

In his remarks during the opening session, the Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Mr Khizer Hayat Khan stated that Pakistan can be characterized as pro-emigration and that every year thousands of Pakistanis migrate mostly to the GCC countries in search of work opportunities. “We cannot ignore the contribution they make to our macro and micro economy through remittance and upgraded skill and the social contacts they bring back with them” he said, before continuing: “The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development is making efforts to improve its governance mechanisms, works hard to better regulate recruitment mechanisms and improve pre-departure orientation”. Mr. Khizer Hayat Khan continued that “the support provided to us by the European Union, the ILO, through its South Asia Labour Migration Governance project, and the ICMPD, in our efforts to improve our migration governance systems has been invaluable and I am grateful for our continued and positive partnership.”

“The European Union firmly believes in the rule of law, applied to every dimension of law, and in particular labour laws. We firmly believe in the need of providing reliable information on overseas employment opportunities, in order to build the capacity to match qualified job seekers with foreign employers, reduce migration cost, and protect migrant workers from abuse and exploitation in country of origin and destination as well” said Mr. Bernard Francois, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan during the opening session of the induction training. He wished the participants successful implementation of the two MRCs and congratulated all partners for their valuable work.

Ms Belinda Chanda, Programme Analyst, ILO Pakistan congratulated the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource and Department of Labour Punjab for the successful establishment of the Migrant Resource Centers in Islamabad and Lahore. In her speech, she stated that “such centers are essential to provide protection to migrant workers and their families from exploitation during recruitment and employment”. Speaking about the role of the ILO in the promotion of the rights of migrant workers, she said that “the ILO has been dealing with labour migration issues since its inception in 1919. It has pioneered international Conventions to guide migration policy and protection of migrant workers. All major sectors of the ILO - standards, employment, social protection and social dialogue - work on labour migration within its overarching framework of Decent Work for All. The ILO adopts a rights-based approach to labour migration and promotes tripartite participation in migration policy.” She also emphasized on the need to institutionalize such initiatives, involve stakeholders, and increase outreach.

In addition to field visits to government departments involved with labour migration where they will receive detailed presentations on their role and functions in the migration cycle, the participants in the training will also learn about the regional migration landscape, challenges and opportunities related to migration, details of the recruitment mechanism, through presentations, videos and engagement with thematic experts, all with the aim of increasing the protection of migrant workers and other migrants.

For further information please contact:

Ms Sadia Hameed
National Programme Officer, SALM Project
ILO Country Office for Pakistan

Ms Hina Maqsood
Project Liaison Officer
Silk Routes Partnership for Migration
Process Secretariat