Promoting Effective Governance of Labour Migration from South Asia Project launching

The new Project with the European Union (EU) will contribute to ensure effective protection of the rights of vulnerable migrant workers, enhance the development impact of labour migration and reduce unregulated migration.

Press release | Kathmandu, Nepal | 20 December 2013
KATHMANDU (Joint press release) – Responding to a need to enhance the governance of labour migration, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU) are launching a new project aimed at promoting the management of labour migration from India, Nepal and Pakistan to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The project – which has a total budget of € 2,407,186 of which EU is contributing € 1,925,749 – will run until May 2016.

The new project – called Promoting Effective Governance of Labour Migration from South Asia – will contribute to ensure effective protection of the rights of vulnerable migrant workers, enhance the development impact of labour migration and reduce unregulated migration.

“The project has a migrant-centred approach” explains Mr Jose Assalino, Director of the ILO Country Office in Nepal, before he continues: “the project will provide support to some 20,000 migrant workers. This includes access to reliable information on overseas employment opportunities; reduced migration costs and abuses by improving recruitment services; increased protection in countries of origin and destination; as well as enhanced training and portability of skills for outgoing and returning migrant workers”.

The project is centred around a number of strategic pillars with a series of activities under each of them:

With the aim to promote safe migration, the project will improve pre-departure orientation programmes and provide support to migrant resource centres. Recruitment services will be improved by studies on the costs of migration versus the official regulations, development of a mechanism for rating of recruitment agencies and support to complaints mechanisms.

The project will also increase the protection of migrant workers in employment in countries of destination. This will be done by supporting e-governance tools and provisions for more effective workplace inspection and complaints’ handling. This will be done through work with embassies, trade unions and civil society organizations to improve services related to information sharing, counselling, dispute resolution and legal advise.

With the aim to generate labour reliable market information, the project will support the establishment of a South Asia-GCC Employment Information Portal and link it with migrant resource centres and job centres in countries of origin with the aim to enhance access to accurate and timely information on job opportunities, employment terms and conditions, and skills requirements. The project will also conduct studies on the demand for skills in specific sectors and occupations in GCC.

Another intervention area includes improvement of training and portability of skills. Under this component the project will develop recommendations and roadmaps for training and education programmes that meet the requirements for jobs in construction, hospitality and technical trades as well as work around skills recognition and accreditation.

A last set of activities concerns the nexus between migration and development. In this area, the project will support the development of strategies and roadmaps and implement pilot actions to facilitate remittance-backed savings and investment.

Migration in South Asia is largely South-South and is characterized by low and semi-skilled workers migrating with fixed-term contracts. The primary destination for South Asian migrant workers is the Arab Gulf States, which rely on foreign labour to fill more than 90 per cent of private sector jobs. The latest figures show an annual demand from the Gulf region for more than two million workers from the major countries of origin in South Asia.

“The EU recognises that while labour migration generates substantial benefits for countries of origin and destination, it can also negatively impact the lives of migrant workers. Abuse of migrant workers during recruitment and employment is a common, well-documented issue. Women face barriers in finding overseas employment, and female migrant domestic workers are among the most vulnerable to abuses. These concerns prompt EU to support the implementation of projects like these” explains H.E. Mrs Rensje Teerink, Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Nepal.

The key project partners are the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Nepal; the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the India Centre for Migration in India; and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development in Pakistan. The project will also partner with workers’ and employers’ organizations, private recruitment agencies, NGOs, migrant associations and diaspora organizations, embassies, banks, micro-finance institutions and researchers in reaching its objectives.

For further information please contact:

Mr José Assalino
ILO Country Office for Nepal

Ms Anna Engblom
(enquiries on the project)
ILO Country Office for Nepal