The following policy briefs were complied based on inputs from members of the Open Working Group on Labour Migration and Recruitment through a series of online discussions, conferences, and interviews.
With members from civil society organizations across the world, the Open Working Group is committed to knowledge sharing and collective advocacy to reform migrant labour recruitment practices globally. Building upon years of civil society advocacy on labour migration, human rights, and recruitment reform, the Open Working Group was initiated in May 2014 by Migrant Forum in Asia and the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) together with other civil society organizations. The Working Group is coordinated by Migrant Forum in Asia and forms part of the Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE).
Policy brief 1: Recruitment “Fees” & Migrants’ Rights Violations
Across regions and national contexts, a familiar feature of labour migration is the charging and collection of fees from migrant workers by recruitment agencies and their sub-agents. For the sake of clarity, we refer to fees charged to workers “recruitment fees,” but it is important to note that this term needs to be deconstructed to unmask what often amounts to a labour rights violation.
South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS), introduced in 2004, was implemented by the government in response to concerns about the treatment of migrant workers in the country. Prior to the establishment of the EPS, migrant workers were brought to South Korea as “trainees”—treated as interns who were paid only stipends for their work and who did not fall under the country’s labour laws. The trainee system, which was in place from 1992 to 2006, resulted in considerable abuse and exploitation of foreign trainees who were essentially providing their labour for free.
Visit the Recruitment Reform website for more information about the campaign and relevant activities for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers in the recruitment process.