FAIRWAY produces easy-to-read factsheets on laws governing migrant workers in the Arab States

The ILO’s FAIRWAY Project has mapped out the key legal provisions dealing with migrant workers in English across eight Arab countries to provide greater access to information for the general public.

News | 13 November 2019
Contact(s): Sophia Kagan, Chief Technical Adviser, kagan@ilo.org
Being able to keep track of the (sometimes rapid) changes in laws and regulations in the Arab States can be challenging. This is particularly so for labour attaches, trade unions and other organizations seeking to support migrant workers from an advocacy or case-work perspective. Sometimes only available in Arabic language, and hard to access online, the up-to-date regulatory framework across the region can be confusing and misunderstood.

For this reason, the ILO’s FAIRWAY Project has mapped out the key legal provisions dealing with migrant workers in eight Arab countries (Gulf countries, Lebanon and Jordan). The short factsheets cover legal rules about who pays for recruitment, whether passport confiscation is prohibited by law, minimum working conditions including wages, working hours and rest periods, freedom to association, how to lodge grievances, and details of each country’s sponsorship (kafala) regime.

By outlining both the provisions that apply in the private sector (where most migrant workers are employed) as well as those relating to domestic workers specifically, the factsheets can also be used as a way to highlight the distinction in rights between domestic workers and other workers. Though domestic worker laws have been enacted in many countries in the Arab states, the protections offered may be lower than those under the Labour Law (from which, most domestic workers in the region are still excluded). Thus, the factsheets can also be used as an advocacy tool, in promoting a revised legislative framework which bring the rights of domestic workers in line with those of other workers, as set out in the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189).

The factsheets are working documents, which will be updated on a 6 monthly basis. Thanks goes to volunteers at Migrant Forum Asia, Migrant-Rights.org and DLA Piper for reviewing the technical content and providing feedback. The information contained in the factsheets is non-exhaustive and based on publicly available information. Organizations using the factsheets are encouraged to consult the original legislation where further information is necessary (much of it has now been made available on the ILO’s NATLEX). In case of any corrections or comments, please get in touch with Sophia Kagan (kagan@ilo.org).