Sectoral Partnerships and Engagement
It is well established that addressing the exploitation of migrant workers required coordinated and systemic action to be taken. In recent years, significant steps have been taken to promote supply chain accountability across and within sectors to enhance migrant worker protection. Many key initiatives include commitments made by industry initiatives to enhance coordinated action and industry alignment with global efforts to prevent labour exploitation.
In line with these efforts, IRIS has developed strategic partnerships with the private sector to enhance migrant worker protection and encourage alignment with ethical recruitment principles. Examples include IOM's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the H&M Group to promote cooperation and assistance in relation to ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers in global supply chains; the IOM and Fair Labour Association MoU which has been critical in facilitating knowledge-sharing and mapping supply chains; and a global MoU signed with IOM and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. IOM works directly with global companies to provide support across a range of supply chain interventions related to ethical recruitment, labour migration, and migrant workers. Thematically these include guidance to:
- strengthen and address gaps in corporate and supply chain policies;
- enhance due diligence to better identify and address risks that migrant workers face in supply chains;
- establish and leverage grievance mechanisms to enhance migrant worker protection;
- and strengthen private sector strategies to improve (inter‐jurisdictional) access to remedy for migrant workers.
Another, growing area of engagement is guidance to enhance “migrant voice” in supply chains, leveraging the power of longstanding strategies related to orientation programmes, counselling, and Migrant Resource Centres as well as new, tech‐based strategies.
IRIS: Food and Agriculture
The agriculture industry is additionally an essential component of the global economy and key contributor to global development. Agricultural production accounts for 4 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and can account for more than 25 per cent of GDP in low-income countries.
In order to support the agriculture and food industries, workers contribute valuable skills and experience to growing and processing food to support their livelihoods. Due to the seasonal and short-term nature of agricultural work, the industry requires a flexible workforce, often through employing migrant workers. Reports have been made that migrant workers often make up between half to three-quarters of the workforce.
Migrant workers often bring key skills and fill deficits in local labour markets, benefiting the industry. When well-managed, seasonal migration linked to agriculture can benefit migrant workers and their communities through the transfer of money, knowledge and skills, contributing to development. Nevertheless, while the industry is critical to livelihoods around the world, migrant workers face poor working conditions, risks to health and safety, discrimination and social exclusion, and low pay with long working hours. It has been well documented that agricultural settings often report inconsistent enforcement of labour regulations, or exclusion from normative labour regulations exasperating the already difficult working conditions. Risks to migrant workers often begin even prior to employment during their recruitment.
To enhance ethical recruitment in the food and agriculture industries, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a new global project to promote ethical recruitment and migrant worker protection. This project- IRIS: Food and Agriculture- builds on IOM’s global multistakeholder initiative IRIS: Ethical Recruitment to support the private sector, government, and civil society to establish ethical recruitment as the norm in cross-border labour migration and strengthen the protection of migrant workers.
IRIS: Food and Agriculture aims to strengthen protections for migrant workers in the food and agriculture industry focused on employer and recruiter advocacy through private sector engagement; global policy dialogue and government capacity building; and enhancing migrant voices through civil society and migrant-centered action.
This project’s foundation is built on private sector engagement. It also emphasizes the vital role of government and civil society focusing on the importance of dialogue, understanding and cooperation between stakeholders to achieve lasting commitment and coherence to ethical recruitment standards. The project proposes a multi-faceted and multi-stakeholder approach to address unethical recruitment.
Key actions will include implementing a capacity building programme for recruiters, creating resources for the agriculture and food industry on implementing ethical recruitment to build capacity and encourage action; engagement and tailored support with governments to enhance regulations and protections for workers; and cooperation with civil society through campaigns, trainings and workshops including dimensions including women, youth, indigenous populations and other vulnerable populations through community engagement. To learn more: email IRIS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRIS: Ethical Tourism
The hotel and tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy and one of the strongest job-creating sectors. One in five new jobs created throughout the world is in the tourism industry. Due to tourism’s importance in the global economy, it has been noted by the global community as playing a leading role in sustainable development and in the future of work as a driver of employment worldwide.
Within the industry, there is strong consensus that migrant workers are vital to its operational viability and continued future growth. Migrants are noted for bringing skills profiles into the industry that are frequently unavailable in the local labour market and for fulfilling roles that may be unattractive to local workers. Hotel and other tourism enterprises also benefit from the culturally diverse and multidimensional skill sets of migrants while providing important employment and livelihood opportunities for them.
In order to increase the protection and wellbeing of migrants in the hotel and tourism industry, IOM carried out the IRIS: Ethical Tourism for three years to promote ethical recruitment in the industry. To learn more about how to engage with IRIS: Ethical Tourism on improving ethical recruitment for the hospitality and tourism industry, check out our guidance Establishing Ethical Recruitment Practices in the Hospitality Industry. This guidance was co-developed with the industry to assist hospitality actors in taking the first steps to implement ethical recruitment in their policies and day-to-day operations.