Press Release —Local

IOM Launches Global Policy Network to Promote Ethical Recruitment

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched today (3 December 2020) a Global Policy Network to promote ethical recruitment and the protection of migrant workers.

Cross-border recruitment is a vital part of facilitating international labour mobility. When implemented in a fair and transparent manner, it contributes to safe and orderly labour migration, which benefits countries of origin and destination, employers, and migrants. However, when international standards are not adhered to, the risks to migrant workers can be severe. Fraudulent and unethical behaviour by unscrupulous labour recruiters can lead to conditions of human trafficking and forced labour.

The new Global Policy Network on Recruitment will address shortcomings in regulation and enforcement that can exacerbate vulnerabilities and lead to gaps in the protection of migrant workers. It will bring together policy makers, regulators, and practitioners from around the world to collectively identify solutions, highlight promising practices and address complex challenges.

“IOM is proud to announce the new government-driven policy network on recruitment, and we look forward to supporting our Member States to make it a reality,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

“Migrant workers around the world need our collective support; the challenges they face have been brought into stark relief by the ongoing pandemic. The global community has a duty to address these challenges, and the Policy Network will make a vital contribution to that effort. We hope you will join us.”

Network membership will help States implement their commitment to safe migration and strengthen their migration governance by facilitating dialogue, knowledge transfer and sharing of good practices. The Network will introduce Members to leading-edge, innovative solutions to the common challenges that policy makers and regulators face.

“A lesson learned from the past few decades of increased global mobility is that no national system exists in a vacuum,” stressed Oscar Berger, Deputy Director at the Swedish Ministry of Justice.

“Our hope is that the Network will function as a source of information on regulatory structures in other countries and how these relate to the Swedish system, as well as an instrument of inspiration on how to safeguard the rights of foreign employees being recruited for work in Sweden.”

In the time of COVID-19, the need for a Policy Network of this kind is more urgent than ever. The pandemic has laid bare the gaps in our current model of migration governance and exacerbated the vulnerabilities that migrant workers face. Without better recruitment regulation, enforcement, and protection, migrants will continue to suffer, with consequences and risks to everyone. The time to change this model is now.

The Policy Network emerged as a result of the 2019 Global Conference on the Regulation of International Recruitment, held in Montreal, Canada. The Conference brought together 100 policy makers from over 30 countries around the world and resulted in the flagship resource, the Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Road Map towards Better Regulation. The Network will build on these foundations and be anchored in the framework established by IOM’s IRIS: Ethical Recruitment initiative.

“Ensuring full compliance of private recruitment agencies with regulation will be key in leveraging safe labour migration pathways. It is my hope that the Global Policy Network will also trigger in-depth discussion on the return and reintegration of migrant workers,” said Lawrence Egulu, Commissioner for Employment Services at the Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

For his part, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco E.L. Mendicino, underlined that establishing the Global Policy Network for Recruitment as a vehicle to address ethical labour recruiting and the protection of migrant workers “builds directly on the Montreal Recommendations and has Canada’s full support. We welcome this concrete outcome from last year’s conference in Montreal and encourage other Member States to engage in the Network to facilitate dialogue and collaboration on these issues.”

The Network is designed as a vehicle for policy dialogue that will be both practical and solutions-oriented. It will:

  • Provide clear, practical guidance to promote policy coherence and good practices;
  • Encourage operational and regulatory cooperation across participating jurisdictions;
  • Establish a mechanism through which guidance and strategies can be tested and scaled, and actions taken.

IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division focuses on the protection of migrant workers and seeks to enhance the benefits of labour migration for all parties involved. The Division operates IRIS: Ethical Recruitment, a global initiative designed to promote ethical recruitment with support from governments, civil society, the private sector and ethical recruiters.

To learn more about the Policy Network and its activities or to express interest in joining the Network, please contact Philip Hunter at