Tripartite Meeting of Experts to Develop Guidance on Fair Recruitment

The ILO Governing Body at its 326th Session agreed to convene in September 2016 a three-day “Tripartite Meeting of Experts to Develop Guidance on Fair Recruitment”, with the objective to adopt ILO guidelines on fair recruitment, encompassing both cross-border and national recruitment. The outcomes of such a meeting will inform the general discussion on labour migration that has been included on the agenda of the International Labour Conference in June 2017, as well as the second recurrent discussion on fundamental principles and rights at work.

Please note that this Meeting is by invitation only and not open to the public.

The 2013 ILO Tripartite Technical Meeting on Labour Migration requested the Office “to develop guidance to promote recruitment practices that respect the principles enshrined in international labour standards, including the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181), and identify, document, and promote the exchange of good practices on reducing the financial and human costs of migration”. The development of this guidance is a key component for the protection of migrant workers and the fair and effective governance of labour migration as recognized in the Fair Migration Agenda presented by the ILO Director-General to the International Labour Conference in 2014 which includes instituting fair recruitment processes as one of its main pillars. It is also an important element of the ILO’s Fair Recruitment Initiative, which was launched in 2014.

The adoption of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 203), created specific obligations to prevent forced labour, including a range of innovative measures on the elimination of abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices such as the promotion of coordination between States to eliminate recruitment fees and to regulate, licence and monitor labour recruiters and employment agencies.

The follow-up strategy to the adoption of these instruments presented to the Governing Body in 2014 recognized that the ILO Fair Recruitment Initiative should provide an umbrella for further guidance on this topic.

Addressing abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices is increasingly being recognized by the international community as an important element in reducing labour migration costs and thus improving development outcomes for migrant workers and their families, as indeed recognized in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 on economic growth and decent work contains targets to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour and human trafficking and to protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular migrant women. Moreover, the costs of recruitment as a percentage of an employee’s annual salary earned in the country of destination is also under consideration as a possible global indicator to measure the target on migration and mobility in SDG 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries.

Labour recruiters, both public and private, play an important role in matching skills supply and labour demand within and across borders, which, when undertaken effectively, can contribute considerably to enhanced development outcomes for migrants and their countries of origin and destination, as well as to improved coherence between employment and migration policies. In the current global refugee crisis, increasing attention is also being paid to how access to the labour market for refugees can be promoted and facilitated through more targeted recruitment.

The development and adoption of ILO guidelines on fair recruitment in September 2016 is therefore essential in order to successfully assist member States, social partners, labour recruiters and other key stakeholders in developing effective labour recruitment policies and practices in compliance with internationally recognized human rights and labour standards and in supporting enhanced development outcomes with a view to implementing the decent work, eradication of forced labour and migration-related SDG targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.