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Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit in Berlin

Guy Ryder says policy choices matter greatly to improve labour migration

Speaking in the German capital, the ILO Director-General said that finding a decent job remains by far the main incentive for migration.

Press release | 28 June 2017
© European Commission DG ECHO
BERLIN (ILO News) – The international community should further enhance the governance of migration and find new ways to improve the lives and working conditions of migrant workers, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, said, noting that 74 per cent of all working age migrants – 150 million – are in the labour force and in search of decent work.

He was speaking at the 10th Summit Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.

Addressing the theme for this year’s meeting “Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development”, Ryder underlined “the opportunity presented by dialogue around adopting new commitments in a Global Compact on migration”. He also stressed the importance for taking action that makes “a real difference in the lives of those who arrive at our shores seeking safety, security, or their future livelihood”.

“If we are to foster the benefits of these movements for all concerned, our policy choices matter greatly,” he said, while removing what he called “the toxicity” from the public debate.

The Director-General also shared the main conclusions of the General Discussion on labour migration that took place during the 106th International Labour Conference that ended on 16 June in Geneva:
  • Labour migration can yield many positive benefits when it is well-governed;
  • There is a need to fix policy gaps such as eliminating the high costs and recruitment fees paid by migrant workers, which can amount to one year’s salary and may lead to human trafficking;
  • The skills and experience from migrant workers should be recognized to better utilize their full potential;
  • Social dialogue and maximizing contributions from social partners are essential to inform good practice exchanges and policy dialogue in national and global debates, including the GFMD process.
Ryder also reaffirmed the ILO’s commitment to support the GFMD and the Global Compact discussions.

“The GFMD is a vehicle that can help shape our responses,” he concluded.

The ILO and its constituents will also participate in a series of events scheduled to take place during the GFMD Summit. They include a number of Government roundtables, the GFMD Business Mechanism meeting, a session on Platform for Partnerships, an ILO-OECD side event on “Improving skill matching and recognition in global talent mobility”, as well as the “Government-Civil Society Common Space” event.