Yangon – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is hosting an introductory workshop on ethical recruitment standards and the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) certification process for 25 private recruitment agency members of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) and staff of Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.
The two-day event in Yangon, (12-13 November), aims to increase the recruiters’ understanding of the steps towards an ethical recruitment business model, and to provide practical information on what recruiters need to demonstrate in their management systems to become IRIS-certified.
The Government of Myanmar estimates that some 4.25 million Myanmar nationals are living abroad. Of these, 89 per cent leave Myanmar in search of work – primarily in neighbouring Thailand. Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
On their journey they can be exploited by unscrupulous brokers who may charge excessive fees for their services, provide misleading information about jobs offered, or withhold migrants’ identification documents. At their workplace, migrants may be subject to abuse, forced labour or long working hours for little or no pay.
U Win Shein, Director General of the Department of Labour under the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population encouraged workshop participants to seek practical ways to comply with IRIS standards and improve migration for Myanmar nationals.
“We take pride in having the opportunity to conduct this workshop to promote ethical recruitment practices, which would benefit not only our recruitment industry and my Ministry, but also the whole of Myanmar,” he said.
“I believe that participants will better understand the risks and challenges of the current recruitment model and recognize how moving towards ethical practices can lead to better results,” said U Peter Nyunt Maung, Chairman of the MOEAF.
IRIS is a global social compliance scheme developed by IOM and a coalition of like-minded partners from government, civil society and the private sector to promote ethical international labour recruitment, which includes ensuring that employers, rather than workers, pay all recruitment fees.
IRIS, which sets a benchmark for ethical recruitment, is currently piloting a voluntary certification system for ethical labour recruiters that will help identify and support ethical international recruiters in global markets. For businesses and migrant workers, IRIS will serve as a due diligence tool for the assessment of labour recruiters.