IRIS milestone alert – labour recruiter maturity assessments

1 year ago

In Q4 2021, IRIS embarked on a series of 10 independent maturity assessments with labour recruiters advancing through the IRIS Capacity-Building Programme (CBP). This exercise is an important milestone for the initiative, allowing us to benchmark recruiters’ performance vis-à-vis the IRIS Standard to understand if they are ready for IRIS Certification. Early results show that some recruiters have only minor adjustments to make before they are ready for the full certification audit, which means we expect that the first recruiters will be IRIS Certified in Q1 2022.

What are IRIS maturity assessments?

The maturity assessment is an independent exercise carried out by a third-party service provider, which follows the logic of the IRIS Certification audit and uses the same tools and methodology. It is conducted as part of the Capacity-Building Programme, an end-to-end process that systematically supports recruiters to align their operations with ethical recruitment principles and prepare them for IRIS Certification. The assessment provides an opportunity to objectively evaluate whether the recruiter conforms to the IRIS Standard and represents a major milestone towards completion of the programme.

The approach ensures impartiality and resembles the real certification audit. During the assessments – with each lasting approximately three days in total – the service provider starts with a preparatory stage to define the scope. This is followed by a desk review (Stage 1) and interviews with the labour recruiter’s management and staff (Stage 2). The second stage also includes interviews with employer-clients, business partners, and most importantly, with migrant workers who are asked about their experience of the recruitment and employment process. The findings from these assessments are captured in an assessment report which specifies further actions that are necessary to close any identified gaps.

Participating recruiters come from around the world, including Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Poland and Singapore. They are recruiting for a wide range of sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture, food processing, security, health care and domestic work.

Results so far

Going into the assessments, the IRIS Secretariat was aware that recruiters would be at varying levels of progress towards full conformity with the IRIS Standard. For the top performers, the assessments showed that they have a solid and well-documented management system in place and are capable of providing ethical recruitment services. Interviews with workers were positive and provided vital, additional assurance that ethical recruitment is implemented in practice. Feedback from other stakeholders indicated high levels of transparency in recruiter performance. Recruiters were also found to have done their “homework” (i.e., due diligence) on business partners and employer-clients and to have established relevant checks and balances to mitigate risks, a requirement of the IRIS Standard.

Other recruiters were found to have a little further to go; they lacked some mechanisms in their management systems and therefore had less evidence to demonstrate their full conformance. Nevertheless, they appreciated the exercise and remain committed to improving in places where they do not yet meet the expectations of the IRIS Standard.

Up next – IRIS Certification!

While even the top performers have some minor gaps to fix, the report recommendations (so called corrective actions) suggest that these can be closed out within one to two months. As such, one of the two recruiters to undergo IRIS Certification in Q1 2022 submitted their certification application already at the end of 2021. While IRIS Certification is determined independently from IOM, the IRIS Secretariat wishes these recruiters the best of luck and hopes they will receive the trademarked “IRIS Certified” seal in early 2022.

Meanwhile, the IRIS initiative continues to support labour recruiters globally with our team of highly dedicated IRIS capacity-builders in IOM country offices around the world. In 2022, we look forward to engaging all relevant stakeholders to create the necessary enabling environment for ethical recruitment. The IRIS Secretariat wishes all partners, stakeholders, friends and colleagues a peaceful, healthy and productive start to the new year!

If you would like more information about the IRIS Capacity-Building Programme please contact: