Labour migration in Southern and Eastern Africa

Instructional material | 02 April 2015


  • Labour migration has been part of the ILO mandate since its inception. ILO’s Constitution of 1919 calls for the “protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own.” At the global level, the ILO is promoting the rights of migrant workers through its body of standards, including the ILO fundamental rights conventions , the ILO Conventions No. 97 and 143 on the protection of migrant workers and the governance of labour migration, and accompanying Recommendations No. 86 and 151  , as well as through its Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration.
  • In line with ILO constituents’ needs and requests reaffirmed during the ILO Tripartite Technical Meeting on Labour Migration in November 2013, ILO’s work on labour migration in Africa is becoming more prominent and moving from a scattered approach to a more coherent, strategic, and sustainable one;
  • The ILO Director General’s report “Setting an ILO Agenda for fair migration” and the ILO’s position as the chair of the Global Migration Group in 2014 are indicative of ILO’s leadership on labour migration issues have reasserted the ILO's strong interest in labour migration (see ILO Fair Migration Agenda : Setting an ILO Agenda 2014);
  • ILO’s work on labour migration in Africa is at three levels: regional, sub regional (with Regional Economic Communities) and country level;
  • The ILO is supporting the implementation of the labour migration component of the AU Migration Policy Framework for Africa. The ILO, IOM and UNECA led by the AUC have developed a regional programme on Labour Migration Governance Development and Integration in Africa, in cooperation with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This programme is entitled:- Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP). The 24th Session of the African Union Assembly January 2015) adopted the AUC/ILO/IOM/ECA Joint Labour Migration Programme. This joint programme also supports the implementation of the AU 2015 Declaration and Plan of Action on Employment Creation, Poverty Eradication and Inclusive Development;
  • In southern and eastern Africa, in addition to the frameworks referred to above, ILO works in the framework of the SADC 2013-2015 Action Plan on Labour Migration, SADC 2014 Labour Migration Policy Framework, and Article 19 (Migrant workers) of the SADC 2014 Employment and Labour Protocol; and the EAC Protocol on Free Movement. ILO's activities on labour migration focus on policy development, social dialogue, and workers' and employers' education and are embedded in international, regional and sub-regional frameworks. Related activities deal with improving labour migration statistical data, social protection, and skills recognition.





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