Geneva – Representatives from governments, the private sector, UN agencies and civil society met during the margins of the sixth thematic session of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) on 13 October to discuss how to better promote ethical recruitment and protect the rights of migrant workers.
The Ethical Recruitment in Global Labour Mobility side event was hosted by the Government of Sweden and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) – with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency.
The event was opened by Ola Henrikson, Director General, Migration and Asylum, Ministry of Justice of the Government of Sweden and Ambassador Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General. Panellists included representatives from IKEA, the World Employment Confederation, the Philippine Overseas Labour Office and the UK Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
“From the Swedish Government’s point of view, labour migration is something fundamentally positive. If well managed, it can be a strong and important driver of economic growth and development,” said Henrikson.
“While fundamental aspects of international migration are, and must be, regulated by states, employers are often key stakeholders with the power to ensure positive effects of migration. Responsible employers can play an important role by ensuring good recruitment practices that benefit migrant workers, who are often exposed to additional vulnerabilities on the labour market. This is especially true in this day and age, where production is global, and manpower increasingly crosses borders,” added Henrikson.
“No one attending this event today would want to have to pay for their own jobs, we wouldn’t expect our children to have to pay, we wouldn’t want to sell our land, mortgage our house, give the equivalent of many months’ salary, just to secure employment. And yet everyday all around the world millions of workers are expected to do just that. That’s why we’re here, to end an economic model premised on the vulnerability of workers,” said John Morrison, Chief Executive, Institute for Human Rights and Business.
“We know from our own experience that the exploitation of migrant workers often begins at the recruitment stage when workers are forced to pay predatory recruitment fees or are misled about the job offer,” said Ambassador Thompson.
“While there is no doubt that the current international recruitment model disadvantages the worker, it also doesn’t serve the interests of business. IOM is pleased to be supporting this important side event, and the efforts of governments, civil society and the private sector to make international recruitment fair for everyone,” added Ambassador Thompson.
The GCM presents a unique opportunity for the international community to move away from reactive approaches to migration governance, and to determine the steps to be taken to reach a common future in which migration is safe, orderly and regular. It will aim to enhance international cooperation on the governance of migration, by establishing a framework to enhance the opportunities and address the challenges posed by human mobility.
For more information, please contact:
Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179111, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hailey St. Dennis, IHRB, Tel: +44 (0) 75 088 78015, Email: email@example.com
Kasja Aulin, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations, Tel: +41 22 908 08 26, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org