Protecting wages of migrant workers in the Arab States: Discussion Note for Policymakers

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant workers faced critical wage-related issues globally, and especially in the Arab States, yet the scale of the problem has vastly increased as the pandemic led to job losses, salary reductions and unplanned repatriations.

Briefing note | 15 June 2021
Contact(s): Sophia Kagan (
This Discussion Note for Policymakers outlines how ILO standards, including the Protection of Wages Convention, 1949 (No. 95), can support countries in the region to “build back better” – not only through more robust systems of wage protection, but also through non-discriminatory wage-setting with regard to workers of different nationalities as international recruitment resumes. Governments in the Arab States can support fair remuneration and regular payment of wages by urgently strengthening access to justice mechanisms and promoting equal treatment in respect of remuneration including equal remuneration for work of equal value, particularly for migrant domestic workers.

The document was developed as an outcome of discussions of the Migration Advisory Group (Arab States) in February 2021. The MAG serves as a think tank and advisory forum to ILO’s Regional Office for Arab States to provide advice on the ILO strategy to advocate for policy change under the Fair Migration Agenda in the region. The information and opinions contained herein do not constitute an endorsement by the International Labour Office or its constituents. The MAG is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).