Fair Recruitment Initiative Newsletter

  1. Edition September 2019

Fair recruitment

In today’s globalized economy, workers are increasingly looking for job opportunities beyond their home country in search of decent work and better livelihoods. In addition, millions of workers migrate internally in search of decent work. Public and private employment agencies, when appropriately regulated, play an important role in the efficient and equitable functioning of labour markets by matching available jobs with suitably qualified workers. However, concerns have been raised about the growing role of unscrupulous employment agencies, informal labour intermediaries and other operators acting outside the legal and regulatory framework that prey especially on low-skilled workers.

Reported abuses involve one or more of the following: deception about the nature and conditions of work; retention of passports; illegal wage deductions; debt bondage linked to repayment of recruitment fees; threats if workers want to leave their employers, coupled with fears of subsequent expulsion from a country. A combination of these abuses can amount to human trafficking and forced labour. Despite the existence of international labour standards relating to recruitment, national laws and their enforcement often fall short of protecting the rights of workers, and migrant workers in particular.

In response to those challenges, the ILO launched a global “Fair Recruitment Initiative” to:
  • help prevent human trafficking and forced labour;
  • protect the rights of workers, including migrant workers, from abusive and fraudulent practices during the recruitment process (including pre-selection, selection, transportation, placement and possibility to return);
  • reduce the cost of labour migration and enhance development outcomes for migrant workers and their families, as well as for countries of origin and destination.

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