ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

87th Session
Geneva, June 1999


Report III (1B)



Migrant Workers



Third item on the agenda:
Information and reports on the application
of Conventions and Recommendations



General Survey on the reports on the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) (No. 97 ), and Recommendation (Revised) ( No. 86 ), 1949, and the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention ( No. 143 ), and Recommendation ( No. 151 ), 1975





International Labour Office, Geneva


ISBN 92-2-110808-2
ISSN 0074-6681





Chapter 1. Review of standards and activities relating to the protection of migrant workers

Chapter 2. Scope of the instruments

Chapter 3. The migration process

Chapter 4. Migrant workers who are in an irregular situation and/or illegally employed

Chapter 5. Equality of opportunity and treatment

Chapter 6. Migrants in society

Chapter 7. Employment, residence and return

Final remarks




Chapter 1. Review of standards and activities relating to the protection of migrant workers

Chapter 2. Scope of the instruments


Chapter 3. The migration process


Chapter 4. Migrant workers who are in an irregular situation and/or illegally employed


Chapter 5. Equality of opportunity and treatment


Chapter 6. Migrants in society


Chapter 7. Employment, residence and return


Final remarks



A. Texts of the instruments of 1949

B. Texts of the instruments of 1975

C. Ratifications of Conventions Nos. 97 and 143

D. Table of reports due and received on the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) (No. 97) and Recommendation (Revised) (No. 86), 1949, and on the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention (No. 143), and Migrant Workers Recommendation (No. 151), 1975 (article 19 of the Constitution)

E. List of legislation relating to migrant workers by country


  1. Estimate of the number of non-nationals by major region in 1995, excluding asylum-seekers and refugees


  1. Number of major migrant-sending and migrant-receiving countries, 1970 and 1990
  2. Cumulative total of member States having ratified the Conventions
  3. Annual number of member States having ratified the Conventions



Section I. Mandate of the Committee of Experts on the
Application of Conventions and Recommendations

1. In accordance with article 19 of the Constitution of the International Labour Organization, the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, at its 267th Session (November 1996) invited governments which have not ratified the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97), and/or the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143), to submit reports on the state of law and practice regarding these matters. It also invited the governments of all member States of the Organization to supply reports on the two Recommendations supplementing these instruments, that is, the Migration for Employment Recommendation (Revised), 1949 (No. 86), and the Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975 (No. 151).(1) These reports, in addition to those submitted in accordance with articles 22 and 35(2) of the ILO Constitution by States which have ratified these Conventions, have enabled the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, in accordance with its usual practice, to prepare a General Survey on the effect given to these instruments both in the States which have ratified one or both of these Conventions and in those which have not. This is the second General Survey carried out by the Committee since the adoption of the instruments; the first dates back to 1980.(3)

2. It should be pointed out that, following the discussions on standard-setting policy at the International Labour Conference in 1994 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the ILO, the Governing Body of the International Labour Office approved at its 262nd Session (March-April 1995) the establishment of a Working Party on Policy regarding the Revision of Standards within its Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards. The Working Party's mandate includes assessing current needs for the revision of standards, examining criteria that could be applied to revision of standards and analysing the difficulties and obstacles preventing the ratification of ILO Conventions with a view to proposing measures to improve the ratification of Conventions that have already been revised. Conventions Nos. 97 and 143, which are the subject of this survey, are among the Conventions for which the Governing Body has requested additional information from constituents to enable it to clarify the possible need for revision of these instruments. For a number of these Conventions, notably Conventions Nos. 97 and 143, the Governing Body decided to "invite member States to provide reports under article 19 of the Constitution and to request the Committee of Experts to undertake a general survey of the reports [...] and [...] then re-examine the possibility of including the question of migrant workers on the agenda of a forthcoming session of the Conference for a general discussion, and also in order to clarify the possible need for revision of Conventions Nos. 97 and 143 [...] and that the Working Party (or the LILS Committee) re-examine the status of Conventions Nos. 97 and 143 in due course".(4)

3. The Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Future ILO Activities in the Field of Migration (Geneva, 21-25 April 1997) also proposed in its report that the International Labour Conference carry out a general discussion on the employment of migrants, including questions of fundamental workers' rights. This suggestion was recalled in the proposals for the agenda of the 88th Session (2000) of the International Labour Conference but was not retained by the Governing Body.

Section II. Contemporary trends in international migration

4. Since the four instruments which form the basis of this study were adopted, in 1949 and 1975, the extent, direction and nature of international labour migration has undergone significant changes.

A. Extent of international migration

5. International labour migration is currently a global phenomenon and few countries remain completely unaffected by it. However, it is difficult to establish with accuracy the number of migrant workers in the world today. In many countries, particularly countries in the course of transition, incomplete or non-existent data impede the drawing of an accurate global picture of migratory patterns. Even where such data exist, the definitions of such key terms as "economic migrant", "permanent migrant", and "irregular migrant" are by no means universally accepted, and the systems by which the data were collected often differ widely, reducing the comparability of statistics. Finally, data on irregular migration and illegal employment is sparse in even the most sophisticated of data collection systems.(5)

6. It is clear, however, that international labour migration has grown considerably in the years since the adoption of the four instruments under consideration. The ILO recently estimated that over 90 million people (migrant workers and their families) are currently residing, legally or illegally, in a country other than their own. Table 1 below breaks down this figure by region.

Table 1 . Estimate of the number of non-nationals by major region in
1995, excluding asylum-seekers and refugees (in millions)
* (6)


Economically active







North America




Central and South America




South, South-East & East Asia




West Asia (Arab States)








Overall totals




* The estimate refers to foreign passport-holders, not to foreign-born persons because the latter include an unknown proportion of naturalized persons who no longer hold the nationality of their country of origin. The figures given here include both regular migrants and migrants whose status may be irregular as regards entry, stay or economic activity. ** The numbers for Western Europe would be about 9 million economically active foreigners along with 13 million dependants.

Source: ILO estimates.

7. Not only has the total number of individuals involved in the migration process risen, the number of countries from which they are emanating and to which they are heading, has also grown. In 1970, 64 countries were major senders or receivers of migrant labour and by 1990 this figure had increased to over 100, taking into account the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.(7) Italy, Japan, Malaysia and Venezuela are among the new major receiving countries, and Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia are among the new major senders.(8) Figure 1 below provides an illustration of the number of countries which are affected by international migration as sending countries, receiving countries, or, in many cases, both. 

 B. Direction of international migration

8. The diversification of the countries which are affected by international labour migration has entailed the development of regional migration patterns with disparate causes and consequences. A few examples of the most pertinent regional developments may serve to illustrate the extent to which the direction of migration has changed in recent years.

9. The first example is the economic and political transformation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, coupled with ethnic and social tensions throughout the region, with the effect that countries which previously were merely affected by migration as transitory countries(9) have been transformed into migrant-receiving countries in their own right. As a result, many of these countries find themselves confronting vast immigration, but with little or no legislation or infrastructure to cope with the subsequent social and economic consequences. To take a concrete example, the Government of Azerbaijan reported that the number of non-nationals (including asylum seekers and displaced persons) who have entered the country in recent years is approaching 1 million, and that it has had to develop measures rapidly to deal with this new phenomenon. Many other countries of the region indicated similar concerns in their reports, on occasion requesting the Office's technical assistance in developing appropriate means to deal with them.

10. A second development which has transformed the face of international migration is the increasing tendency in many traditionally migrant-receiving countries to develop preferential immigration policies as a consequence of the rise in domestic unemployment rates. Such policies tend to favour migration from within a regional grouping, or from countries with which the region has particular ties, while simultaneously making it more difficult for nationals of other countries to migrate to the region. A number of countries have reported to the Committee that, with a view to joining a regional organization, they are currently in the process of harmonizing their immigration policy with countries which are already members.

11. A third development of most recent import is the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. The crisis and policy measures initiated in response to it have affected the economies of the region with varying severity and the consequences for migrant workers of this region have been severe and are likely to deteriorate further. According to an ILO technical report "The social impact of the Asian financial crisis"(10) which was discussed at the High-Level Tripartite Meeting on Social Responses to the Financial Crisis in East and South-East Asian Countries (Bangkok, 22-24 April 1998) the impact of the crisis on labour migration is expected to have several dimensions: (a) reduced net immigration because of the slowing down of their economies and immigration restraints imposed by their governments; (b) new admissions will be cut down and what will happen to the number returning is far from certain: there is no certainty that those laid off will simply pack up and go home; and (c) with declining employment opportunities at home and increasing inter-country wage differentials there could be a build-up of emigration pressures in one or more of the worst-affected countries. It is already being anticipated that trafficking in clandestine labour migrants will rise as a consequence, and will entail heavy private and social costs, both in the countries of origin and those of destination.(11)

Box 1
Migrant workers

The [Asian] crisis has made abundantly clear the need for recasting approaches to managing international labour migration, which were characterized by unclear policy goals, slack implementation and an absence of bilateral regulation. Good governance is of the utmost importance in this field because the cross-border movements of workers and dependants touch upon the innermost feelings of people; and they involve human beings, most of whom are poor, rather than commodities.

At the national level, therefore, there is an urgent need for reviewing policies, procedures and measures on how to admit and treat foreigners who are needed and to prevent the entry, stay or employment of those who are not needed. It could perhaps start with tripartite consultative meetings at the sectoral level -- agricultural, construction, manufacturing and private services -- before matters are discussed, as well as decided upon, in a tripartite framework at the national level. It might conceivably include the issues of graft and corruption at the local police level, on the one hand, and of the establishment of funds, based on contributions, to compensate migrant workers for wages not paid in the event of insolvency and bankruptcy, on the other. Comparative experience on good governance in this field can be shared.

At the international level, there is an urgent need for establishing bilateral or multilateral mechanisms to transcend the inherent limitations imposed by national boundaries on the impact of state interventions in this sphere of social policy. Bilateral or broader consultations, of a formal or informal nature, can assist countries in the conceptualization and implementation of agreed regulations to channel workers into jobs where they are authorized to be employed. These can include: the setting up, at bilateral levels, of joint commissions of labour which could serve as informal and flexible structures for regular consultations between authorities of sending and receiving countries; bilateral labour agreements covering key procedural and other issues, including human resource development, social security and minimum wages; and round-table discussions, at regional or subregional levels, to tackle common problems and solutions.

Source: Excerpt from ILO technical report for discussion at the High-Level Tripartite Meeting on Social Responses to the Financial Crisis in East and South-East Asian Countries, Bangkok, 22-24 April 1998.

12. Globalization has had a profound effect upon international labour migration. The growing interdependency of countries, facilitated by technological developments, means that cross-border transactions in goods, services and capital occur much more frequently, and with less disruption than previously. Coupled with the growth of communication networks and developments in international transport, globalization has had the effect that vastly increased numbers of people have begun, and will undoubtedly continue, to view international migration as a means of escaping poverty, unemployment and other social, economic and political pressures in the home country.(12)

C. Nature of international migration

13. Regional and global developments in migration have resulted in significant changes in the nature of international migration. Whereas at the time of the adoption of the 1949 instruments permanent migration for the purposes of settlement(13) and temporary migration(14) in order to fill vacancies in the domestic market were clearly demarcated, the oil crisis which hit the major European receiving countries in the early 1970s blurred this previously clear distinction. As borders were tightened and a "freeze" was placed on immigration as a result of the crisis, these same countries found that many migrants who had been recruited for temporary employment in fact settled in the host country, and took the opportunity to reunite their families there. This transformation from temporary to permanent residence(15) brought with it a host of social problems which have had to be addressed, in particular as second and even third generations of non-nationals were born into the country.

14. As the ban on immigration for permanent settlement has, with few exceptions, remained in force for many major migrant-receiving countries, time-bound migration, in various forms,(16) has become the only means of migrating for many people. Many States reported to the Committee that some provisions of the four instruments under consideration are no longer of relevance to the national situation, as permanent migration no longer exists.(17) The few countries, such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which continue to accept migrants for permanent settlement have also changed their immigration policies, and temporary migration has become increasingly favoured in these countries as well. For example, in Canada, the number of temporary worker visas quadrupled between 1981 and 1990 and the average annual inflow of temporary workers exceeded the number of permanent immigrants entering under employment schemes by two and a half during this period.(18) Finally, many of the new migrant-receiving countries of the Pacific Rim and Central and Eastern Europe also appear to be adopting policies favouring temporary or project-tied migration as opposed to issuing permanent residence permits, and time-bound migration schemes have been set up in several of these countries.

15. The profile of temporary migrants has also changed. While major temporary migration flows in the past consisted of semi-skilled workers emigrating to take up jobs which nationals would not undertake, contemporary immigration policies tend to focus upon highly skilled migrants. The recent adoption by New Zealand of the so-called "points system" of immigration, by which only highly qualified and economically desirable migrants are recruited, illustrates the degree of selectivity which migrant-receiving countries can now afford to exercise over migration flows.(19) The exception to this rule continues, however, to be seasonal workers, primarily recruited for agricultural work in almost all regions of the world. These migrant workers, as will be seen in the course of this survey, are often among the most vulnerable, often working in conditions vastly inferior to national workers, in many cases with little reward.

16. Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the flexibility which characterizes today's labour market and which affects all workers, including migrant workers. Temporary migrant workers who, by definition, occupy precarious positions, frequently change from one job to another and from one category to another, for example: self-employment, contract work and salaried work, etc. This makes it all the more difficult to categorize workers exclusively by the nature of their employment alone.

17. The nature of recruitment practices has also been dramatically transformed in the years since the adoption of the four ILO instruments under consideration. The decline in government-sponsored schemes for group migration, as well as a general decline in the role of state leadership in the world of work, left a vacuum which was rapidly and efficiently filled by private agencies recruiting workers for employment abroad. For example, in relation to migration for employment between Asian countries and the Gulf States, it has been suggested by the ILO that as much as 80 per cent of all foreign job placements have been handled by private recruitment agents.(20) Many countries in Asia and in the transition countries of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular, have seen a proliferation of private recruitment agents.

D. Irregular migration

18. An examination of the current immigration policies of most major migrant-receiving countries may lead one to believe that migration is primarily a time-bound phenomenon affecting only highly qualified foreign workers. However, this is not necessarily reflected in practice as the majority of migrant workers occupy semi-skilled or unskilled positions, often under illegal conditions. Irregular migration in recent years appears to have taken on a new and even more concerning character. It should also be noted that in many countries the illegal employment of migrants is not necessarily a temporary phenomenon and that many migrants may live and work in an irregular situation for several years, and in some cases even permanently. The irregular entry, employment and residence of foreign workers has emerged as a disturbing trend, and one which national governments and the international community have attempted to address. The 1975 instruments were partly designed with the aim of protecting irregular migrants from all kinds of abuse.

19. Estimates of irregular migration are, by the very nature of the phenomenon, imprecise, and wildly disparate figures have been attributed to it. The most commonly cited figure, however, is in the region of 30 million persons worldwide.(21) As will be seen below, individuals who migrate or reside in violation of immigration and employment regulations are highly likely to find themselves in positions where they are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Sub-standard working and living environments, slave-like working conditions, confiscation of travel documents, and non-payment of wages and other benefits at the hands of the employer, as well as potential inhumane treatment at the hands of the authorities if caught, all too commonly dominate the lives of irregular foreign workers.

E. Female migrants

20. The extent to which women engage in international migration is not generally known. The gender-specific language of the instruments from both 1949 and 1975 (such as the specific reference in Article 6 of Convention No. 97 to "women's work" and Paragraph 15(3) of Recommendation No. 86 where the family of a migrant worker is defined as "his wife and minor children") indicates that the typical migrant was male, and traditional stereotypes view "him" to be young and economically motivated. In this respect, the Committee has endeavoured throughout the English language text of this survey to avoid using gender specific pronouns to refer to those involved in the migration process.

21. Women, if involved in the migration process at all, were perceived to do so by accompanying their spouse in the name of family reunification. While this undoubtedly still accounts for much migration, recent estimates on female migration indicate that women workers are migrating on almost the same scale as men, accounting for almost 48 per cent of migrants worldwide.(22) It appears that there has been a substantial increase in young, unmarried women migrating to find employment for themselves. In countries such as Indonesia, women account for as much as 78 per cent of workers migrating through official channels for employment abroad.(23)

22. Often by the very nature of the work which they undertake, women can be particularly vulnerable when employed for work outside their own countries. In recent years the plight of female domestic workers, particularly those employed in the Middle East, has come to public attention. In 1992 the situation in Kuwait had become so desperate that around 250 domestic workers had taken refuge in their countries' embassies, many of them alleging that they had been raped, abused or cheated by their employers.(24) The situation of both male and female domestic migrant workers is all the more concerning, as in many countries their employment is not regulated by labour legislation.

23. Another concern is the vulnerability of women recruited for employment outside their countries as "sex workers".(25) While some migrate specifically for this purpose, a vast majority are forced into prostitution upon their arrival in the host country. In many cases, women are recruited for jobs as receptionists, hostesses or barmaids, and are even issued with legitimate permits to undertake such work, yet upon their arrival in the host country find themselves working in the sex industry. Often the confiscation of travel documents, large debts which may be owed to the recruiter, and the threat of being reported to the police render these women, far from their homes and unfamiliar with customs and language in the host country, in an extremely vulnerable position.

F. Fundamental human rights and state sovereignty

24. As a result of all the trends outlined above, international migration and its accompanying problems occupy an increasingly significant position on the agendas of international organizations and governments worldwide. Many actors in the migration debate identify a tension developing between the sovereign right of States wishing to protect the interests of their domestic labour market and the fundamental human rights of individuals who, for various reasons, are forced or choose to migrate in search of employment. The ILO has, since its creation in 1919, been at the forefront of this debate and has attempted to create a balance between these apparently conflicting interests through the adoption of international labour standards, technical advisory services and research.

Section III. Status of ratifications, available
information and arrangement of the survey

A. Status of ratifications

25. Convention No. 97 came into force on 22 January 1952 and had been ratified by 41 member States as at 11 December 1998; Convention No. 143 came into force on 9 December 1978; as at 11 December 1998 it had been ratified by 18 member States.(26) The following figures show the progression of ratification of these two instruments.


B. Available information

1. Convention No. 97

26. For this survey, the Committee used the reports communicated under article 19 of the Constitution of the ILO by 96 States on the position of their law and practice in regard to the matters dealt with in both Convention No. 97 and Recommendation No. 86 (for those which have not ratified the Convention) and in regard to the matters dealt with in only Recommendation No. 86 (for those which have ratified the Convention). The Committee also analysed information communicated by States in their reports under articles 22 and 35 since ratifying the Convention.

2. Convention No. 143

27. For this survey, the Committee used the reports communicated under article 19 of the Constitution of the ILO by 96 States on the position of their law and practice in regard to the matters dealt with in both Convention No. 143 and Recommendation No. 151 (for those which have not ratified the Convention) and in regard to the matters dealt with in only Recommendation No. 151 (for those which have ratified the Convention). The Committee also analysed information communicated by States in their reports under articles 22 and 35 since ratifying the Convention.

28. The Committee takes this opportunity to remind governments which have ratified one or both of these instruments of their obligation to communicate regularly to the Office any legislation adopted on the subject-matter covered by these instruments, including amendments to existing texts, together with information on new practices.

3. Nature and extent of the information received(27)

29. The Committee commends the large number of governments which have communicated reports on these instruments; of the 173 member States concerned, 96 submitted reports and, in addition, ten non-metropolitan territories also communicated reports. The Committee points out, however, that while some of these reports were very complete, many did not contain the information which had been requested, and only provided an approximate image of the application of the instruments, particularly in relation to their application in practice. In accordance with its usual practice, therefore, the Committee also endeavoured to supplement this information, to the extent possible, by taking into account various other official sources, particularly the reports of governments on other international instruments directly or indirectly addressing questions related to the Conventions and Recommendations here examined. The Committee has also taken account of observations from employers' and workers' organizations. In this respect, the Committee regrets the small number of comments which were submitted by the social partners on the concrete application of the different provisions of Conventions Nos. 97 and 143, as well as of Recommendations Nos. 86 and 151 in their countries.(28) Consequently, the Committee calls for greater efforts on the part of governments to communicate the requested information, but also calls upon organizations of employers and workers to take the opportunity offered to them, by article 23 of the Constitution of the ILO, to express their point of view. The Committee stresses this point, as the cooperation of governments and the social partners is essential to allow it to fulfil, in as complete a manner as possible, its mandate and to have a broad view of the situation. Finally, the Committee notes general comments on the situation of migrant workers, submitted by the World Confederation of Labour.

C. Arrangement of the survey

30. The Committee proposes to present its survey in seven chapters. Chapter 1 reviews the standards and activities relating to the protection of migrant workers. Chapter 2 concerns the scope of the instruments under review. Chapter 3 deals with protective measures in the context of the migration process. Chapter 4 covers protection of migrant workers in an irregular situation. Chapters 5 and 6 analyse the equality of opportunity and treatment and social policy measures that should be provided for migrant workers in a regular situation. In Chapter 7 the Committee examines issues relating to conditions of employment, residence and return of migrant workers. The Committee ends this survey with some concluding remarks.

* * *

31. The references appearing in the footnotes of this survey have been chosen to illustrate the Committee's comments rather than to provide an exhaustive list of national legislation and practice in member States in relation to migrant workers. In this regard, Appendix E contains a list of the principal legislation relating to migrant workers by country.


1. See Appendices A and B for the full text of Conventions Nos. 97 and 143 and Recommendations Nos. 86 and 151.

2. The Committee points out that the information mentioned in these reports is not, with a few exceptions, very recent; partly because reports on these instruments are requested every five years (the last examination took place in 1995) and partly because several reports submitted in 1995 were not detailed.

3. ILO: Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Report III (Part 4B), International Labour Conference, 66th Session, Geneva, 1980 (referred to below as the 1980 General Survey).

4. GB.267/LILS/4/2, para. 62; see also GB.267/9/2, para. 14 and GB.267/PV, p. IV/6.

5. For an overview of data collection systems on migration worldwide and the problems hindering international estimates, see R.E. Bilsborrow, G. Hugo, A.S. Oberai, H. Zlotnik: International migration statistics: Guidelines for improving data collection systems (Geneva, ILO, 1997).

6. See Protecting the most vulnerable of today's workers, Discussion Paper submitted to the Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Future ILO Activities in the Field of Migration, MEIM/1997 (Geneva, ILO, 1997), para. 7.

7. That is, the ex-Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

8. International migration and migrant workers, GB.265/ESP/2 (Geneva, ILO, 1996), para. 3.

9. Under art. 6 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, adopted by the United Nations in 1990, the term "State of transit" is defined as "any State through which the person concerned passes on any journey to the State of employment or from the State of employment to the State of origin or the State of habitual residence".

10. AFC/Bangkok/1998, ILO Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific.

11. See paras. 289-293 below.

12. For a recent overview of the link between international migration and globalization, see G. Battistella: "Migration in the context of globalization: Issues and implications", in Asian Migrant, Vol. 11, No. 1, Sep. 1998.

13. "Migration for permanent settlement" occurs when, according to Art. 8 of Convention No. 97, a migrant for employment is admitted on a permanent basis upon arrival in the country of immigration.

14. Truly temporary migration policies as understood here relate to employment or economic activities whose duration is (a) anticipated to last an approximate number of days, weeks or months or (b) known to be definite and coming to an end even though that end may not always be known with exactitude in advance or may be subject to short-term business requirements or other exogenous factors. Recurrence of the employment opportunity or activity year after year or in different locations is not a criterion of exclusion.

15. In several migrant-receiving countries temporary migrant workers can acquire the status of permanent resident after a certain period of residence, which varies in length from one country to another. See paras. 391-392 below.

16. For a detailed description of different forms of temporary migration see Protecting the most vulnerable of today's workers, op. cit., paras. 20-100.

17. For example, the Netherlands stated that "there is no longer any large-scale [permanent] migration of workers to the Netherlands. The provisions relating to recruitment and assistance of migrant workers have therefore lost practical significance".

18. Protecting the most vulnerable of migrant workers, op. cit., para. 10.

19. Under the "points system", which was adopted by New Zealand in the early 1990s, prospective migrants are awarded points for such factors as academic qualifications, work experience, age and language ability, etc. Those failing to achieve a specified minimum number of points are not permitted to apply for permanent settlement. Australia and Canada operate similar systems of immigration.

20. See Protecting the most vulnerable of today's workers, op. cit., paras. 11 and 102.

21. P. Stalker: The work of strangers: A survey of international labour migration (Geneva, ILO, 1994), p. 146.

22. United Nations: Measuring the extent of female international migration, Paper presented at the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on International Migration Policies and the Status of Female Migrants (New York, United Nations, 1990).

23. Stalker, op. cit., p. 106.

24. ibid., pp. 109-110.

25. According to a recent ILO report (Lin Lean Lim (ed.): The sex sector: The economic and social bases of prostitution in South-East Asia (Geneva, ILO, 1998)), prostitution and other "sex work" in South-East Asia has grown so rapidly in recent decades that the sex business has assumed the dimensions of a commercial sector, one that contributes substantially to employment and national income in the region. Yet according to the study there is no clear legal stance nor effective public policies or programmes to deal with this phenomenon in any of the countries examined. Governments are constrained not only because of the sensitivity and complexity of the issues involved but also because the circumstances of the "sex workers" can range widely from freely chosen and remunerative employment to debt bondage and slavery.

26. The list of States which have ratified these instruments is contained in Appendix C of this survey.

27. For a complete list of the reports received under art. 19 of the Constitution of the ILO, refer to Appendix D.

28. Argentina: General Confederation of Labour; Austria: Federal Chamber of Labour; Barbados: Barbados Employers' Confederation, Barbados Workers' Union; Belgium: Confederation of Christian Trade Unions; Brazil: National Confederation of Commerce, National Confederation of Transport; Estonia: Estonian Confederation of Industry and Employers, Association of Estonian Trade Unions; Finland: Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers, Employers' Confederation of Service Industries, Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions, Confederation of Salaried Employees, Confederation of Unions for Academic Professions, Commission for Local Authority Employers; Republic of Korea: Federation of Korean Trade Unions, Korea Employers' Federation; Lebanon: Association of Lebanese Employers; Mauritius: Mauritius Employers' Federation, Mauritius Confederation of Workers; New Zealand: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions; Portugal: Confederation of Trade and Services of Portugal, General Union of Workers; Sweden: Swedish Employers' Confederation, Swedish Agency for Government Employees; Turkey: Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, Confederation of Turkish Employers' Associations.

Updated by HK. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.