International labour standards on labour migration

Step it up
Lack of labour protection for migrant workers undermines protection generally for all workers. The many international labour standards adopted over the years by the International Labour Conference of the ILO are important for safeguarding the dignity and rights of migrant workers. In principle, all international labour standards, unless otherwise stated, are applicable to migrant workers. These standards include the eight fundamental rights conventions of the ILO identified in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; standards of general application, such as those addressing protection of wages and occupational safety and health, as well as the governance conventions concerning labour inspection, employment policy and tripartite consultation; and instruments containing specific provisions on migrant workers such as the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181), the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and social security instruments.

From its very inception, the ILO also resolved to protect "the interests of workers employed in countries other than their own" (ILO Constitution, 1919, Preamble, recital 2), and has pioneered the development of specific international standards for the governance of labour migration and protection of  migrant workers. it has adopted two Conventions, in 1949 and 1975, which are accompanied by non-binding Recommendations.
ILO Migrant specific instruments
  Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97)  
  Migration for Employment Recommendation (Revised), 1949 (No. 86)  
  Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143)  
  Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975 (No. 151)  
In 1999, the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendation conducted a General Survey on the application of these four instruments on migrant workers, which it submitted to the 87th International Labour Conference. The Committee also issues observations and direct requests to States parties regarding their application of Conventions Nos. 97 and 143, available from the ILO’s International System on International Labour Standards – NORMLEX.

In addition to international labour standards, migrant workers and members of their families are protected by the nine UN core international human rights instruments, which apply to all persons irrespective of their nationality. One of these core instruments is the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, which was adopted by the Un General Asssembly in 1990 and entered into force in 2003. This Convention complements the four ILO instruments on migrant workers but is broader in scope going beyond labour issues. It also sels up the Committee on Migrant Workers which is responsible for monitoring the Convention’s application by States Parties. The ILO participates, in a consultative capacity, in the meetings of this Committee.

There are also other mechanisms within the UN system relevant to the protection of migrant workers, including the special procedures mandates’ of the UN Human Rights Council, and most notably the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
Fundamental Rights Conventions
Abolition of Forced Labour
  Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930
  Forced Labour (Supplementary Measures) Recommendation, 2014 (No. 203)
  Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
  Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
Elimination of Child Labour
  Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
  Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
Trade Union Rights
  Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
  Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
Equality and Non-discrimination in Employment and Occupation
  Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)
  Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

Selected Conventions and Recommendations of General Application (including Governance Conventions)
  Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81)
  Labour Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention, 1949 (No. 94)
  Protection of Wages Convention, 1949 (No. 95)
  Employment Injuries Benefit Convention, 1969 (No. 121)
  Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122)
  Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention, 1969 (No. 129)
  Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1979 (No. 131)
  Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144)
  Nursing Personnel Convention, 1977 (No. 149)
  Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155)
  Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988 (No. 167)
  Working Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants) Convention, 1991 (No. 172)
  Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176)
  Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183)
  Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001 (No. 184)

Selected Conventions and Recommendations containing specific provisions on Migrant Workers
  Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, 1925 (No. 19)
  Employment Service Convention, 1948 (No. 88)
  Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)
  Protection of Migrant Workers (Underdeveloped Countries) Recommendation, 1955 (No. 100)
  Plantations Conventions, 1958 (No. 110)
  Equality of Treatment (Social Security) Convention, 1962 (No. 118)
  Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention, 1982 (No. 157)
  Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181)
  HIV and AIDS Recommendation, 2010 (No. 200)
  Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189)
  Domestic Workers Recommendation, 2011 (No. 201)