Global Action to Improve the Recruitment Framework of Labour Migration (REFRAME)

The overall objective of REFRAME is to contribute in reducing abusive practices and violations of human and labour rights and enhancing the protection of migrant workers during the recruitment process.

At a glance

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOP&HRD); Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE); Protectorate of Emigrants (POE); Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF); Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC); Pakistan Overseas Employment Promoters Association (POEPA); Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and its provincial offices, Sustainable Development Goals Units (SDGs Units) ; Employers’ organizations; Workers’ organizations; Civil Society Organization; Media; Researchers/institutions and Academia.

Target beneficiaries
Government; Employers’ and Workers’ organizations; Overseas Employment Promoters; Civil Society Actors; Academia and Media. The ultimate beneficiaries will be migrant workers, women and men, and their families. They will benefit from project interventions in terms of improved access to information on safe and regular recruitment channels and knowledge on their rights and support mechanism available for grievance handling.

Geographical focus

Project Objectives

Rapid increase in population and labour force has posed serious challenges of poverty and unemployment to Pakistan. Consequently, there has been a heavy reliance on labour migration for reducing unemployment and poverty. The Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE) registered 10.1 million Pakistani emigrants between 1971 and 2017, with 96% moving to Middle East.

The rapidly growing recruitment industry in Pakistan and a network of informal intermediaries operating in the major regions of the country where the prospective migrant workers come from, if effectively regulated, may play instrumental role in promoting good governance in the labour market by, for example, developing a scientific and effective job- matching system for jobs overseas. Despite the existence of institutions, rules and regulations for emigration, migrant workers often face the most serious decent work deficits. They encounter challenges pertaining to high recruitment costs; limited access to accurate information on safe recruitment and employment opportunities; non-compliance with placement terms; deception in terms and conditions of the employment and/or reduced wages; precarious working conditions; discrimination and inequalities at the workplace as well as skills underutilisation and job mismatch.

In this context, the overall objective of REFRAME is to contribute in reducing abusive practices and violations of human and labour rights and enhancing the protection of migrant workers during the recruitment process. In order to achieve these objectives, the project aims to:
  1. improve the institutional capacities of stakeholders to implement initiatives on fair recruitment;
  2. increase accessibility to accurate information, knowledge, tools on fair recruitment to migrant workers and other relevant stakeholders and
  3. develop and implement integrated strategies to address unfair recruitment through relevant stakeholders.

Main Activities

Enhancing knowledge on labour migration and recruitment processes
Undertaking research and generating knowledge in the following areas:
  • Gender and labour migration for overseas employment
  • Laws, policies and practices related to recruitment of migrant workers
  • Recruitment agency business practices, costs and role of intermediaries
  • Labour migration status and trends in Pakistan
Dissemination information on:
  • ILO’s General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment and definition of recruitment costs
  • Fair recruitment of migrant workers to promote safe, orderly and regular migration
  • Authentic information on foreign jobs, recruitment process, costs, relevant actors/ institutions, migrant workers’ rights and obligations, regulations and support mechanisms for grievance handling
Capacity building and awareness raising on fair recruitment
  • Enhancing capacity of Government officials; overseas employment promoters; recruitment agencies; workers’ organizations on fair recruitment of migrant workers
  • Building capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and workers’ organizations for information provision on safe and regular migration and improving access to justice for grievances handling
  • Enhancing capacity of stakeholders to compile; analyse and generate reports on labour migration and measurement of recruitment costs
Supporting policy and legislative initiatives
  • Extending technical support to review the National Emigration and Welfare Policy
  • Disseminating research findings to feed into policy/legislative initiatives

Project Outcomes

  • Enhanced quality and alignment of Draft National Emigration and Welfare Policy with the ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for fair recruitment
  • Improved understanding and capacity of relevant actors and stakeholders to implement their roles for promoting fair recruitment in Pakistan
  • Enhanced capacity of national statistical organizations on measuring recruitment costs of migrant workers, making dataset aligned with international standards and reporting on SDG indicator 10.7.1
  • Strengthened institutional and technical capacity of Briefing Officers of Protectorate of Emigrants Offices and Overseas Employment Corporation on delivering gender sensitive and effective pre-departure services to migrant workers
  • Improved institutional capacity of civil society and workers’ organizations on documentation and dissemination of information on safe and regular migration at grass root level as to empower intending migrant workers to make informed decisions and to protect their labour rights.
  • Enhanced technical capacity of media on forced labour and fair recruitment leading to improved quality of research and reporting