Private Employment Agencies can contribute to better working conditions

Private employment agencies should complement the rapidly changing labour market of Uzbekistan and play the role of catalysts for new forms of human resources management services and are called upon to make a significant contribution to improving working conditions. This was stated by the participants of an international video conference “Improving the Institute of Private Employment Agencies: National and International Experience" held on 24 April 2020.

News | 24 April 2020
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (ILO News) - The video conference was attended by Komil Rashidov, Advisor to the Prime-Minister, Head of the Department for the Protection of Citizens' Rights and International Economic Cooperation of the Cabinet of Ministers, Bakhodir Umurzakov, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bakhtiyor Tursunov, Acting Director of the Agency for External Labour Migration, as well as representatives of international organizations, private employment agencies and the media.

The event was dedicated to discussing amendments to the Law on private employment agencies (PrEAs), the role of private employment agencies in international labour migration, the experience of other countries in organizing activities of PrEAs, the problems of regulating their activities in accordance with international standards.

International experts participating in the video conference shared their views on labour migration issues. Michael Newson, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labour Mobility and Human Development, IOM, said that even within a year after a pandemic, the situation may not return to its previous state. Therefore, during and after the crisis, it will be necessary to jointly manage the situation with labour migration. To manage the flow of labour migration, it is necessary to determine the areas of cooperation between employment agencies, employers and the state, as well as the tasks that they should perform.

Pavel Shalus, IRIS Programme Manager, IOM, stressed that the IRIS standard that has been adopted by government agencies, employers and employment agencies in many countries are based on the norms of the UN and ILO Сonventions, as well as on international practices of employment and labour migration. In particular, when hiring employees, the principles of legality, transparency and protection of rights should be respected. Also, in accordance with international standards, the use of migrant workers should not be subject to forced or child labour. It was also noted that the world's largest companies follow the principle of "employer pays". However, despite the creation of the institution of private employment agencies in the country, the procedure for paying for the services provided by them is not strictly defined, some agencies abuse the trust of our citizens, and cases of fraud have been reported.

Bakhtiyor Tursunov in his speech noted that the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and Agency for External Labour Migration thoroughly studied and analysed international norms and legislation of other countries. The proposed amendments and additions to the law are based on the recommendations and conventions of the ILO and are consistent with international standards, in particular, that private employment agencies shall not charge directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to workers.

On behalf of the ILO, Mikhail Pouchkin, Senior Employment Specialist, clearly emphasized that the ILO is placing increasing importance on the management of labour migration and protection of migrant workers. The current version of the Law on private employment agencies does not fully reflect the existing provisions of ILO Convention No. 181. As speaker noted, in recent years the government of Uzbekistan has held many negotiations with a number of countries in the field of external labour migration, in particular with the Russian Federation, and is achieving effective results. Russia is currently developing a new migration strategy. However, there are a lot of complaints from migrants on working conditions. To promote decent work for migrants as well as to maximize their contribution to the economic and social development of sending and destination countries, some kind of filters are needed to determine. First of all, it is necessary to build an effective system of vocational education.

During the video conference, representatives of private employment agencies also expressed their views and suggestions on solving problems in the field of labour migration, and further improving the activities of private employment agencies.