Improving the governance of labour migration and the protection of migrant workers’ rights in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Egypt

In the North Africa region, unemployment, underemployment, informality of employment and decent work deficits triggered the social unrest leading to the 2011 revolutions and contributed to the ongoing political transformation processes.


In the North Africa region, unemployment, underemployment, informality of employment and decent work deficits triggered the social unrest leading to the 2011 revolutions and contributed to the ongoing political transformation processes. The same phenomena play important roles in determining migration dynamics that affect local populations, especially the youth.

To enhance the development potential of labour migration in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Libya, the development of comprehensive, gender sensitive responses to govern migrant workers’ mobility is needed. Labour mobility is an important tool to adjust skills, gender, age and the sectoral composition of national labour markets and to adapt skills and labour to labour markets’ needs and changing environment (market conditions, technological advances and industrial transformations).

An adequate regulatory framework and comprehensive labour migration policies at the sub-regional level, based on international standards, are crucial to enhance the development potential of migration and ensure the protection of migrant workers’ rights when labour migration takes place. Strengthened policy development and coherence, as well as the incorporation of migration issues in national development plans, would help improve migrant workers’ protection and facilitate migrant workers’ labour market insertion. Furthermore, national legislation and labour codes need to be reviewed with the aim of promoting enhanced harmonization with international standards and sub-regional protocols.


This project aims at promoting good governance of labour migration and protection of male and female migrant workers’ rights in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Libya with a view to enhancing the development benefits of labour migration. The project strategy is designed along institutional strengthening and capacity building interventions targeting government institutions and social partners.

To attain its overarching goals, the project intends to: 
  • provide national stakeholders with adequate knowledge, capacities and practical tools to elaborate and implement coherent rights-based and gender-sensitive labour migration policies/strategies, through a highly participative process of consultation with social partners and relevant civil society organizations; 
  • support the strengthening of national laws and practices concerning labour migration and the protection of migrant workers in light of relevant international instruments; 
  • support an intra-regional dialogue on labour mobility and protection of migrant workers.

Main Activities

Drafting and dissemination of national baseline studies; development of action plans for institutional strengthening; development of tailor made training curricula and training material; implementation of tripartite training and workshops; establishment of a consultation mechanism among civil society organizations promoting the rights and welfare of migrant workers, government institutions and social partners; creation of national tripartite working groups, whose mandate will be to provide strategic inputs and policy recommendations on each thematic area and to support the drafting of a migration policy; provision of technical advisory services to support inter-departmental coordination and collaboration mechanisms; drafting of a migration policy with a participatory approach; publishing national studies on relevant international legal standards, including those specifically addressing gender equality issues, as well as recommendations for strengthening national legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms in line with ILO Conventions and the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their families; conducting a sub-regional study on the main bilateral labour agreements/MoUs, sub-regional protocols, as well as bilateral social security agreements and existing practices within the sub-region; carrying out targeted training on bilateral labour agreements.


1. National institutional capacities for regulating labour migration are reinforced.

  • Capacity building and institutional strengthening needs assessed (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Libya);
  • National capacities on labour migration strengthened through targeted trainings (Tunisia, Morocco);
  • National roadmaps for developing national labour migration policies are developed through tripartite discussions (Tunisia, Morocco);
  • Technical assistance on inter departmental coordination mechanisms provided in Morocco and Tunisia or Egypt, as well as specific trainings for Tunisian labour attachés and assistance for the implementation of a “legal watch mechanism” in Morocco;
  • Process of developing a national labour migration policy advanced in Morocco.

2. National institutional capacities for protecting migrants’ rights are enhanced.

  • Legislations on migrant workers and practices reviewed to better protect male and female migrant workers;
  • Social partners’ capacities to protect migrant workers are strengthened in Tunisia and Morocco.

3. Intra-regional dialogue on labour mobility and protection of migrant workers is strengthened.

  • Main bilateral agreements between the targeted countries reviewed;
  • National capacities to develop gender sensitive bilateral labour migration agreements strengthened;
  • An action agenda is drafted during a tripartite sub regional workshop on “Intra-regional mobility and protection of migrant workers”.

Target Groups and Partners

The direct target groups are government officials responsible for the preparation and implementation of labour migration policies, including labour attachés, as well as representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations. The final beneficiaries are women and men migrant workers and their families in targeted countries.

The project will target public institutions involved in the governance of labour migration: ministries of labour/employment/manpower, social affairs, vocational training, foreign affairs, and ministries or other public institution in charge of nationals abroad as well as Ministries of Interior. Public employment services, employment and vocational training observatories and social security institutions will also be targeted.

Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations will be involved in targeted training on protection of migrant workers’ rights, labour migration governance, data collection, social security, labour administration, linkages between migration and domestic labour market policy, as well as migration and development, to build effective social dialogue within the context of tripartite working groups and mechanisms.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will be the main implementing partner in the project.
NGOs, migrant associations and academia (researchers and institutes focusing on migration) will also be involved.