IOM and ILO launch joint report on promoting fair and ethical recruitment in a digital world

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) launch research exploring how technology can be harnessed through state-facilitated digital recruitment platforms, to promote transparency and help eliminate abuses such as contract substitution and debt bondage.

Press release | 20 May 2021
The report (Promoting fair and ethical recruitment in a digital world) explores innovative state-facilitated digital technology platforms from four different contexts, with a focus on the Employment Permit System of the Republic of Korea, Musaned from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, eMigrate from the Republic of India and the European Network of Employment Services.

“The challenges of ensuring fair and ethical recruitment have been exacerbated over the last year by the COVID-19 pandemic. These platforms have the potential to play a pivotal role in tackling recruitment-related vulnerabilities migrant workers face”, said Carmela Godeau, IOM Regional Director for MENA region.

The study maps four examples of state-facilitated digital technology platforms that assist the recruitment, placement, and/or job matching for migrant workers. In reviewing some of the promising practices and lessons learnt, the study aims to offer preliminary guidance to States developing similar online applications and platforms, while also discussing possible approaches on how to best leverage new techniques and technologies, including blockchain technology. When designed and implemented in an inclusive way, these digital technology platforms have the potential to promote institutional transparency and fairness and can reduce the costs of labour migration and limit the potential for collusion between private recruitment agencies.

“While recognizing that digital technologies can be important tools for ensuring fair and ethical recruitment, it is however important to realize that they are not a panacea,” said Frank Hagemann, ILO Deputy Regional Director for Arab States. “Technology can be effective when rigorously complemented by strong legal and policy provisions on the ground that fully uphold labour rights, and by proactive follow-up mechanisms by governments and employer and worker representatives”.

The guidance provided in this report, drawing from contexts across the globe, can support States in making progress towards implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), adopted by 152 UN Member States in December 2018. It can support, in particular, ensuring fair and ethical recruitment and safeguarding conditions that ensure decent work for all (Objective 6) and introducing technology to simplify application procedures, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and expenses for States and migrants (part of Objective 12).

This report will be issued initially in English with an Arabic translation available shortly.