Migrant Forum in Asia advocated for decent work and fair recruitment at the last Colombo Process (CP) meeting in Bangkok Thailand held on 13-15 March 2018. MFA was invited as a resource person to the Colombo Process, Third Symposium on: “Promoting Regulatory Harmonization of Recruitment Intermediaries in the Colombo Process Member States”, and the 5th Thematic Area Working Group Meeting (TAWG) on Fostering Ethical Recruitment.
The symposium is the final in a series of consultations which contributes to the thematic priority set by the Colombo Process namely Fostering Ethical Recruitment, in order to ensure the protection of migrant workers and prevent exploitative practices. The meeting focused on the action points in the proposed implementation strategies for regional action points which were agreed upon in previous meeting of the TAWG. The proposed action points falls in three themes:
Theme One: Regulatory harmonization amongst the Colombo Process: 1) Formalizing sub recruitment agencies as responsible stakeholders; 2) Introducing or enhancing monitoring mechanisms through regional rating system; 3) Promoting employer-pays principle; and 4) Reducing vulnerabilities of women migrant workers.
Theme Two: Collaboration with countries of destination: 5) Enhance the transparency of cross-boder recruitment processes and the enfocement of respective laws including deelopingg an electronic platform that mitigates the risk of unethical recruitment.
Theme Three: Collaboration with private sector: 6) Build capacity of licensed OESPs to promote ethical recruitment; 7) Encourage regional association of OESPs in CPMS to have periodic interaction with Employers’ Association/ Chambers of Commerce of CODs to discuss prolems related to ehttical recruitment and other issues that fall under CP thematic priorities being faced by women and men migrant workers; 8) Assist government and private sector stakeholders to implement the International Laour Organization (ILO) Fair Recruitment guidelines and International Organization for Migration’s IRIS Code of Conduct.
The participants, CP member countries, agreed on action points 2 and 3 as a regional priority; while action point 7 and collaboration with countries of destinations to be taken where appropriate in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue. The rest of the other action points were recommended for further deliberations.
The MFA representative presented on the network’s initiatives on fair recruitment including among them the network’s contribution to the Migrant Recruitment Advisor (MRA) and MFA’s online complaint mechanism for migrant workers. The MRA was developed by the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) as part of the ILO’s Fair Recruitment agenda. The MRA is an online platform where migrant workers can review and evaluate recruitment agencies. The platform also provides information for on the rights of migrant workers, policies governing migrants rights as well as a number of pre-departure information for migrant workers. The MRA is linked to a complaints mechanism developed by MFA and its partners. Migrant workers who have complaints and or issues concerning a recruitment agency can report and request for assistance through the online complaints mechanism.
MFA was also invited as observer in the 5th Thematic Area Working Group Meeting (TAWG) on Fostering Ethical Recruitment. It was the second time MFA has taken participation in the meetings of the TAWG. A regional workshop to share key findings form the mapping of complaints mechanisms in the Colombo Process Member States was conducted on 15 Marc 2018 where MFA moderated one of the working groups in identifying possible obstacles for migrant workers’ access to justice.