IRIS Standard

The IRIS Standard has been developed through extensive consultation with stakeholder and expert communities and is based on international human rights instruments and labour standards such as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity, as well as, recruitment industry best practices. It is designed to serve as a practical tool and guidance for enabling labour recruiters and employers to integrate ethical recruitment principles into recruitment related management systems, procedures, codes of conduct, and social sustainability initiatives. To achieve this, the Standard defines operational benchmarks for compliance with the IRIS ethical recruitment principles. The IRIS certification scheme currently under development will provide assurance of compliance with the Standard. 

The Standard will be updated peridocally.


General Principle A: Respect for Laws, and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

The labour recruiters must comply with all applicable legislation, regulations, multilateral and bilateral agreements on labour migration, and policies related to the recruitment of migrant workers in the jurisdictions of origin, transit and destination countries, including those pertaining to the immigration or emigration of migrant workers. This principle explicitly prohibits the use of trafficking in persons, forced labour, and child labour, and includes respect for the right of freedom of association and collective bargaining and respect for equality of treatment and non-discrimination, as recognized in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.


CRITERION A.1: The labour recruiter is compliant with all applicable laws in its countries of operation.

CRITERION A.2: The labour recruiter is compliant with international standards on prohibition of forced labour.

CRITERION A.3: The labour recruiter does not recruit migrant workers under the age of 18.

CRITERION A.4: The labour recruiter does not restrict migrant workers’ freedom of association.

CRITERION A.5: The labour recruiter does not recruit migrant workers for the purpose of replacing workers who are on strike.

CRITERION A.6: The labour recruiter ensures that migrant workers are treated equally throughout the recruitment process and are not discriminated on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender and gender identity, national or social origin, nationality, caste, age, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, union membership, physical ability, health, pregnancy, marital or family status or any other status, in accordance with applicable law.


General Principle B: Respect for Ethical and Professional Conduct

In order to meet the responsibility to respect laws and comply with the IRIS Principles, the labour recruiters will have in place policies and processes, including due diligence, to ensure that their recruitment activities are consistent with the IRIS Principles and conducted in a manner that treats migrant workers with dignity and respect, free from harassment, or any form of coercion or degrading or inhuman treatment.


CRITERION B.1: The labour recruiter’s policies, procedures and practice comply with the IRIS Principles.

CRITERION B.2: The labour recruiter performs ongoing due diligence on employers and end-user    employers to ensure their continued and uninterrupted compliance with applicable laws and labour standards.

CRITERION B.3: The labour recruiter performs ongoing due diligence on recruitment business partners and subcontractors to ensure their continued and uninterrupted compliance with applicable laws and the IRIS Principles.


Principle 1: Prohibition of Recruitment Fees and Related Costs to Migrant Workers

The labour recruiters must not charge directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or related costs to migrant workers, for the services related to recruitment for temporary or permanent job placement or employment.


CRITERION 1.1: The labour recruiter has a policy commitment prohibiting the charging of recruitment fees and related costs to migrant workers, irrespective of where or how they are recruited.

CRITERION 1.2: Recruitment fees and related costs are not borne by the migrant workers.

CRITERION 1.3: The labour recruiter informs jobseekers during the recruitment process that they do not bear any costs of recruitment.


Principle 2: Respect for Freedom of Movement

The labour recruiters must not require migrant workers or their family members to provide a monetary deposit or other collateral as a condition of employment, and must not withhold, destroy or confiscate documents, wages, or other personal belongings, or otherwise limit freedom of movement.


CRITERION 2.1: The labour recruiter does not hold the passports, other identity documents, work permits or other documents of migrant workers without their informed written consent.

CRITERION 2.2: No labour recruiter withholds bank books, bank cards, deeds to real or personal property of the migrant workers or their family members at any time.

CRITERION 2.3: Employment contracts and service agreements between the labour recruiter and migrant workers do not limit their freedom of movement.


Principle 3: Respect for Transparency of Terms and Conditions of Employment

The labour recruiters must ensure that, prior to deployment, migrant workers are provided with written contracts in a language each worker understands, detailing the terms and conditions of employment including but not limited to the nature of work undertaken, rates of pay and pay arrangements, working hours, vacation and other leave, and all other lawful deductions from pay and benefits of employment in accordance with national law. The labour recruiters must ensure that the worker’s written consent is obtained without coercion.


CRITERION 3.1: The labour recruiter provides the migrant workers with a written employment contract that is straightforward and understandable by them and contains at a minimum: position of worker, job description, job site, commencement and duration of contract, details of transportation to and from country of destination, details of accommodation, meals provided under the contract, union or other legal dues payable by the worker (if applicable), name and address of the employer, wages and frequency of pay, working hours and days of rest, overtime rates, vacation, other leave entitlements, all lawful deductions from pay, benefits of employment and conditions of termination in accordance with applicable law.

CRITERION 3.2: The labour recruiter verifies that the terms and conditions of employment are the same as originally offered by the employer and comply with applicable law and practice.

CRITERION 3.3: The employment contract is provided to migrant workers prior to deployment.

CRITERION 3.4: The employment contract is agreed to and signed by migrant workers without coercion.

CRITERION 3.5: The employment contract signed by the worker is not substituted for another employment contract unless for better living and working conditions and agreed upon with the migrant worker.

CRITERION 3.6: The labour recruiter ensures that migrant workers receive pre-departure orientation (PDO) training.


Principle 4: Respect for Confidentiality and Data Protection

The labour recruiters must not record, in files or registers, personal data which is not required for judging the aptitude of migrant workers for jobs for which they are being or could be considered, or required to facilitate their deployment. The labour recruiters must ensure that all personal data that they collect, receive, use, transfer or store shall be treated as strictly confidential and shall not be communicated to any third party without the prior written informed consent of the worker or workers’ representative, unless required by law.


CRITERION 4.1: The labour recruiter has a policy on data protection which is in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, and the IRIS Principles.

CRITERION 4.2: Personal data of migrant workers collected by the labour recruiter are relevant, protected and treated confidentially by the labour recruiter and any third party.

CRITERION 4.3: Informed consent is obtained from migrant workers at the time of collection of personal data.

CRITERION 4.4: The labour recruiter does not release migrant workers’ personal data without cause and their explicit consent.


Principle 5: Respect for Access to Remedy

The labour recruiter must ensure that migrant workers have effective access to remedy, without fear of recrimination, reprisal, or dismissal, such as internal grievance procedures of the labour recruiter and/or the employer and to those remedies provided by law in the country of origin and destination, in relation to their recruitment activities.


CRITERION 5.1: The labour recruiter has or participates in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms.

CRITERION 5.2: The labour recruiter ensures that the migrant workers are informed about and have an open and direct access to a grievance mechanism related to the recruitment process.

CRITERION 5.3: The labour recruiter provides migrant workers with information about available state, employer and industry provided grievance mechanisms related to the employment in both origin and destination countries.