Code of Conduct on the fair recruitment of migrant domestic workers from the Philippines to Hong Kong: a recruitment industry initiative
- Responsible Organisations: The Fair Hiring Initiative Inc. (TFHI-Philippines), in collaboration with Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies (AHKMA) and Society of Hong Kong-Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP)
- ILO Regions: Asia and the Pacific
- Country(ies): Hong Kong, China; Philippines
- Thematic areas: Fair recruitment
- MLFLM: 13.
- Sectors: Domestic work
Following promotional work on the ILO’s General Principles and Operational Guidelines (GPOG) for fair recruitment, a global milestone was achieved in June 2019 when the Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies (AHKMA) and the Society of HK-Accredited Recruiter of the Philippines (SHARP) signed the first ever Code of Conduct on the fair recruitment of domestic workers from the Philippines to Hong Kong (China). Both associations have committed to enforce the Code and seek to validate compliance to the Code through a survey of workers.
ILO FAIR Phase II project and The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI) supported the initiative to develop an online worker feedback system, which monitors recruitment agencies’ compliance to the Code principles and commitment of AHKMA and SHARP. Survey questions were developed that are in line with the core principles of the Code of Conduct (which are in line with the ILO GPOG). The findings and analysis from the pilot workers’ feedback survey will inform both recruitment associations about the recruitment experiences of the workers they have deployed and identify a corrective action plan to address recruitment issues in the corridor.
Proof of impact/progress
While the Code of Conduct and preceding training on fair recruitment holds promise, they will gain further meaning through a follow up mechanism that includes a worker survey, baseline information system and corrective action plan. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the survey was put on hold, thus delaying the collection of necessary evidence to demonstrate that the practice is making a difference in the lives of migrant workers. Once undertaken, the survey will feed into a baseline information system that will in turn inform the Corrective Action Plan of AHKMA and SHARP. The baseline information for domestic workers in the Philippines-Hong Kong corridor will also be of use for other sectors in other countries of destination, including the impact of COVID-19 on these recruitment corridors.
Other promising features
Non-discrimination / inclusion of hard to reach and/or most vulnerable migrants
This initiative brings the monitoring of working conditions of workers in a household setting into focus, a place of employment that is otherwise inaccessible to labour inspection.
Potential for replication or extension
This voluntary initiative emphasizes what branding fair recruitment practices can do to separate the good from unscrupulous recruitment agencies and thus serve as leverage for change (currently 1 out of 8 recruitment agencies in Hong Kong is a member of AHKMA). Other recruitment agencies associations have taken interest in developing a similar Code of Conduct, which offers scope for collective branding of good recruitment practices.