- Secretary Susan Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers;
- Mr Gustavo González, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in the Philippines;
- Participants from the Ministry of Manpower – Indonesia, Board of the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers – Indonesia, Ministry of Transportation – Indonesia, Ministry of Human Resources – Malaysia, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment – Bangladesh, Department of Migrant Workers – Philippines, National Maritime Polytechnic – Philippines, International Labor Affairs Bureau - Philippines, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – Philippines
- Colleagues from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Women, ILO – Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO);
- Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon (good afternoon)!
Labour migration is a huge phenomenon in the region and neighbouring corridors. ILO estimates show that Asia and the Pacific hosted over 20 per cent of the world’s 163.8 million migrant workers in 2017. The Arab States had the highest proportion of migrant workers to all workers (40.8 per cent). Most of them from South-East Asia and South Asia at 13.9 per cent.
But, as we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the labour market, especially migrant worker deployment. As post-pandemic economies recover, demand for migrant labour rises. It is time to ensure fair and ethical recruitment.
The ILO’s migration agenda prioritizes fair and ethical recruitment. Its Fair Recruitment Initiative ensures national and cross borders recruitment practices are based on labour standards, developed through social dialogue, and ensure gender equality.
Private recruitment agencies play a vital role in fair and ethical recruitment for overseas work. In this period of recovery, we must ensure they operate within regulatory framework to avoid unscrupulous practices that affect migrant workers.
In the Philippines, the ILO uses its migration portfolio, works closely with government, workers, employers and stakeholders to achieve fair and ethical recruitment.
Allow me to share some of the recent initiatives.
- First, the ILO co-organized multi-stakeholder consultations to support the crafting of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Implementing Rules and Regulations, including recruitment aspects. This helped align key provisions with international labour migration standards.
- Second, the ILO and DMW hosted a forum on fair and ethical recruitment and the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181) with the Philippine recruitment industry. The DMW will use the forum outcomes to review and craft its Rules and Regulation, including licensing and regulation.
- Third, the ILO works with stakeholders to develop a Code of Conduct for Private Recruitment Agencies to voluntarily promote ethical standards. This will also support the National Action Plan on Fair and Ethical Recruitment.
- Lastly, the ILO is also postured to implement recruitment-related capacity-building for national and other key stakeholders.
We expect that sharing of good practices among participating countries will benefit all.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, the BRIDGE Programme, and the ITCILO, along with the Safe and Fair Programme and the Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia Programme for organizing this forum.
Our collective efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers through fair and ethical recruitment practices support the ILO Global Call to Action for an inclusive, sustainable, resilient and human-centred recovery from COVID-19.
The ILO is committed to implement strategies and interventions that contribute to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), especially Objective 6 on facilitating fair and ethical recruitment and safeguarding decent work.
We look forward to a successful event.
Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!