Labour migration programme and results in Asia Pacific

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1 Labour migration programme and results in Asia Pacific Protecting women and men migrant workers and promoting effective governance of labour migration Background and purpose Asia Pacific is the world s most economically dynamic region. 71 million people (30 per cent of the world s migrants), are hosted in Asia and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Although overall numbers of migrants in the Pacific are much lower than in Asia, the importance of migration to the region remains critical. Seasonal worker programs in New Zealand and Australia provide the largest source of temporary work for Pacific Island Countries. Oceania has the highest share of migrant stock among all regions in the world (21 percent in 2013). In Asia, women comprise 42 per cent of the stock of migrants and are concentrated in domestic work. The region is marked by substantial remittance inflows. According to the World Bank, among the top 10 remittance receiving countries in 2013, six were Asian. The structure of the economies, relative labour shortages, and demographic evolution in countries of destination are driving the demand for workers. This is matched by a ready supply of women and men in countries of origin attracted by the wage differential and better opportunities, or forced to leave because of natural disasters or conflict. Migrant workers make an enormous development contribution to the region s economies in the form of skills, labour power, services and competitiveness in countries of destination; and return of financial flows, skills and knowledge to countries of origin. Many migrants are filling a niche in labour markets of destination countries by doing jobs that nationals do not want or cannot fill. Yet many migrant workers in the region are subject to labour exploitation and abuse. Irregular migration is widespread. Studies into the recruitment process and working conditions of low-skilled migrants consistently reveal indicators of abuse commonly associated with labour exploitation. The ILO is the only United Nations agency with a constitutional mandate to protect migrant workers. In addition to adopting International Labour Standards in a wide range of employment-related areas, which apply to all persons in their working environment irrespective of their nationality, it has pioneered specific international Conventions to guide migration policy and the protection of migrant workers the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) 1949 (No. 97) and the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143). Moreover, all four sectors of the ILO standards, employment, social protection and social dialogue work on labour migration within its overarching framework of decent work for all. In Asia and the Pacific, within the overall objective of increased protection of migrant workers and more effective governance of labour migration, the ILO had the following priorities on labour migration for : To improve the knowledge base and policies in labour migration To build capacity of governments and social partners in managing labour migration To promote bilateral and regional cooperation on labour migration 1

2 ILO strategy The ILO s strategic framework for the biennium was structured around four strategic objectives and 19 outcomes. The four strategic objectives relate to labour standards; employment; social protection; and social dialogue. Outcome 7 on Labour Migration proposes: More migrant workers are protected and more migrant workers have access to productive employment and decent work. At its 92 nd session (June 2004), the International Labour Conference adopted the resolution concerning a fair deal for migrant workers in a global economy, which called for an ILO plan of action. In November 2005, a tripartite meeting of experts adopted the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration, the centrepiece of the plan of action, which provides non-binding guidance for improved governance of labour migration at the national, regional and international levels, based on ILO standards and good practices. Priorities for national action identified at the Asia- Pacific Regional Meeting in Busan (2006) included improving dialogue and the management of labour migration so as to benefit both sending and receiving countries and better protect the rights and equal treatment of migrant workers. At the next regional meeting in Kyoto (2011) national policy priorities included, expanding technical assistance and cooperation on labour migration, including dialogue and bilateral agreements between origin and destination countries to improve recruitment practices and protect migrants rights at a glance New laws and policy were developed and adopted in Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam and Bangladesh. 2 MOUs were developed between trade unions in the GMS and a plan of action developed by SARTUC in South Asia. Technical assistance was provided to 3 G to G agreements. 16 research reports and surveys were completed, along with the International Labour Migration Statistics Database for ASEAN. 24 capacity building trainings, workshops and study tours were held for trade unions (6), recruitment agencies and employer organizations (3), and government (15). 5 regional conferences and seminars were held including two tripartite plus forums in the ASEAN. 23 Migrant Worker Resource Centres providing information, counselling, and legal assistance. Since 2010 these services have reached close to 40,000 intending migrants, migrant workers and their families. The Office has committed to assist member States in developing and improving rights-based labour migration policies and institutions to reduce illeffects, protect migrant workers better, and promote development. The Office will emphasize integration in receiving societies and workplaces, paying special attention to women, and will promote social dialogue on labour migration. The As of May 2014, over US$1 million in financial compensation has been ordered for 2,444 complainants in Malaysia and Thailand. Office will also work with governments and social partners and involve migrants associations where appropriate; and will seek collaboration with other international and regional organizations. Finally, the 2

3 Office will monitor developments in international labour migration, identifying new areas and tools for its interventions. 1 Based on the above, the three priority areas of work in were to improve the knowledge base and policies relating to labour migration; to build the capacity of governments and social partners to manage labour migration; and to promote bilateral and regional cooperation on labour migration. Specific outputs were planned in the three areas in the framework of national and regional technical cooperation projects. Results from the biennium are outlined below. Knowledge-base and policy Data collection and sharing The ASEAN TRIANGLE project in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat and member states initiated the development of the International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) database, covering the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam). Research undertaken on recruitment and employment practices, and administration of labour migration The GMS TRIANGLE project and the Asian Research Center for Migration at Chulalongkorn University produced the report Regulating recruitment of migrant workers: An assessment of complaint mechanisms in Thailand. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of complaint mechanisms for recruitment-related grievances available to inbound and outbound migrant workers; and sets forth a set of recommendations for more effective mechanisms, based on the study s analysis of the existing system and the normative approaches provided by international law and good practices. A study on Employment practices and working conditions in Thailand s fishing sector was undertaken. The study obtained detailed information on the situations of nearly 600 fishers employed on Thai vessels in both national and international waters. The study was designed and reviewed with the active engagement of the Thai Government, industry representatives, employer s and worker s representatives, and NGOs. The ILO developed an employers and migrant workers survey on the pre-employment, recruitment, employment, and planned return phases of the Korean Employment Permit System (EPS), with the view to providing policy recommendations to the Republic of Korea and countries of origin. More than 1000 migrant workers and 200 employers from Viet Nam, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Nepal were surveyed. Research was commissioned to identify and assess financial service systems for migrant workers in Asia. The research reviewed remittance services from Korea to countries of origin, by surveying 500 workers on their experiences. The survey results were submitted to the ILO and presented at the regional meeting of countries of origin and Korea held on 3-4 December 2013 in Bangkok. A feasibility study for a website to raise migrant worker voices with regards to their recruitment experience was initiated. The proposal outlined a website where, based on an agreed up assessment framework, migrant workers would be able to enter an assessment of their recruitment service providers. The feasibility of this initiative is being pursued further. 1 ILO: Strategic Policy Framework : Making decent work happen,

4 Two papers on the migration of healthcare professionals were produced: Assessment of the Philippines bilateral labour arrangements on healthcare professional migration and five selected destination countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Bahrain, Japan and Norway) and; Assessment of the impact of migration of health professionals on wages, employment and other labour market indicators. These papers have been presented at policy dialogues held in Manila and New Delhi in July 2013, and will be published under the ILO MIGRANT working paper series. A mapping and assessment of existing services available to health care professionals and skilled workers, from the view point of government, service providers and migrant workers, in the Philippines and in India was undertaken. The Decent Work across Borders (DWAB) project will discuss with the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) on the most appropriate means through which the recommendations of the research can be implemented. The results of this activity will also be used to prepare a comprehensive directory of authorities offering services to health professional migrants. The 3 th ADBI-OECD-ILO Roundtable on Labour Migration in Asia was held in Bangkok in January 2013 on the theme assessing labour market requirements for foreign workers and developing policies for regional skills mobility. A publication entitled Labour migration, skills and student mobility in Asia resulted. A draft report on Labour Migration Structures and Financing in Asia was prepared, with research undertaken in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and India. The report makes a compilation and assessment of services, financing, and organizational structures in labour sending countries. Under the Bangladesh Decent Work and Labour Migration project, five studies have been completed: (1) Reinforcing ties: Enhancing contributions from Bangladeshi diaspora members; (2) In the corridors of remittance: Cost and use of remittances in Bangladesh; (3) Gender and migration from Bangladesh: Mainstreaming migration into the National Development Plans from a gender perspective; (4) Skilling the workforce: Labour migration and skills recognition and certification in Bangladesh; and (5) The Cost: Causes of and potential redress for high recruitment and migration costs in Bangladesh. Improved legislation and mechanisms in GMS countries and South Asia In Viet Nam, tripartite consultations were held on two Circulars that set a ceiling for deposits from migrant workers and established standard contracts, (the Circular on the Ceiling of the Deposit Fund for Recruitment Agencies and Migrant Workers, and the Circular on Standard Labour Supply Contracts and Standard Guest Worker Contracts). Technical comments were provided by the ILO GMS TRIANGLE project. Drafts for the standardized Pre-Departure Training Curriculum (PDTC) are being finalized in Cambodia, Lao People s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam, with the first training-of-trainers to be held in The PDTC were developed in collaboration with government, recruitment agencies, international organizations and NGOs. In addition to the participant manual, a facilitator guide outlines each module in a lesson plan format. In Cambodia, ILO provided technical inputs and facilitated tripartite dialogue in the drafting processes of the prakas (ministerial orders) to supplement Sub-Decree 190 on sending migrant workers abroad. Training for recruitment agencies and government officials on the new Ministerial Orders will be supported by the GMS TRIANGLE project. The Thai government and industry are being supported in the development of a number of tools and mechanisms to improve the protection of workers in the fishing sector, including Good Labour Practice (GLP) Guidelines, training materials on occupational safety and health, a Code of Conduct for 4

5 the National Fisheries Association, training for the labour inspection team, and operationalization of Labour Coordination Centres to regularize the role of brokers and deliver training. Following an advisory mission from the Brazilian labour ministry on improving inspections in the fishing sector, a mobile inspection unit for the commercial fishing industry was established in Thailand. The Ministerial Regulation on Domestic Work was passed by the Royal Thai Government in November While not completely in line with the standards set in the ILO Convention on Domestic Work (No. 189), it does provide additional protections including mandating one day off per week. The ILO provided inputs and held consultations during the drafting process and has since supported a forum, attended by the Vice Minister of Labour, to raise awareness on the contents of the Regulation. A National Workshop on the Implementation of the Inter-Ministerial MOU between Myanmar and Republic of Korea was held on 3-4 June 2013; and between Pakistan and the Republic of Korea on August The aim of the workshops was to further strengthen the government-supervised system of recruitment and pre-departure under the Employment Permit System (EPS) and to improve protection of migrant workers in Republic of Korea. Participants drafted recommendations to improve implementation of the EPS in Myanmar and Pakistan. Following a multi-country dialogue in December 2013, a set of ILO Regional Guidelines on Good Practices for Return and Reintegration of Workers Participating in the EPS Programme were developed. Some of the Guidelines include the establishment of a database of employers and of workers; business development assistance; and free competency assessments and job matching. In Bangladesh, the Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers Bill 2013 was drafted with technical support from the ILO, and was approved by the Parliament in October The new Act will bring significant improvements to the regulation of recruitment, support services to migrant workers, the situation of women, complaint mechanisms, and access to justice. In Bangladesh, support was provided to the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Employment (MEWOE) to review the Overseas Employment Policy (2006). Assistance was further provided to formulate a new comprehensive Overseas Employment Policy. This has been pending submission to the Cabinet for approval. A national labour migration policy for Afghanistan was drafted. Improving public attitudes towards migrant workers In Thailand and Malaysia, the GMS TRIANGLE project has initiated two campaigns to promote a positive image of migrant workers. The campaigns aim to promote better understanding between nationals and migrant workers by increasing public awareness on the issues faced by migrant workers, their positive economic and societal contributions, and their right to equal protection under the law and in practical access to support services. In the campaigns held public outreach events, a photo exhibition and student workshops for International Migrants Day, developed a growing online community, and launched a Youth Ambassador programme in Thailand. Capacity building and support services Trade unions develop action plans In July 2013 in Hanoi, a Sub-Regional Seminar on Improving Trade Union Cooperation between Labour Sending and Receiving Countries in ASEAN was held. At the seminar participants discussed good practices and put forward a number of country-level and sub-regional strategies. The focus of these 5

6 strategies was on strengthening cooperation among sending and receiving country trade unions, and on documenting and sharing good practices among trade unions. Trade union action plans have been developed and implemented in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Lao People s Democratic Republic, Thailand and Malaysia. These action plans outline four areas of action in which trade unions can have an impact on protecting and promoting migrant workers rights, these include, promoting a rights-based migration policy; creating alliances with trade unions; education and informing trade union members; and reaching out to migrant workers (based on the approach proposed in the In Search of Decent Work: Migrant Workers Rights manual developed by ACTRAV). The ILO has supported the implementation of these Action Plans. In Bangladesh a national consultation was held with members of the National Coordination Committee for Worker s Education (NCCWE), a confederation of workers organizations, in Bangladesh, resulting in the adoption of a 4-point common minimum agenda for its work on labour migration in the country. In December 2013 the SARTUC/ILO/ITUC-AP Leaders Meeting on Coordination of Action in Regard to the Protection of Migrant Workers was held in Kathmandu with the participation of trade unionists from across the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region. The meeting participants adopted a three-year work plan for coordinated action on the protection of migrant workers in the region. Employer organizations and associations of recruitment agencies develop codes of conduct and implementing mechanisms With the support of the ILO, a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Vietnamese Association of Manpower Supply (VAMAS) Code of Conduct was successfully piloted among 20 recruitment agencies. The pilot phase involved the training of local authorities and agencies on forced labour and other abuses that the Code seeks to eliminate. The mechanism will be extended to cover 50 agencies; and a ranking of agencies into four categories will also take place. In Cambodia, the GMS TRIANGLE project contributed to the development of monitoring tools for the Association of Cambodia Recruitment Agencies (ACRA) Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct will eventually lead to a rating system of recruitment agencies. In 2013, the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) agreed on an Employers Policy Framework for Sustainable Labour Migration in the ASEAN region, which outlines the principles ACE members will pursue with regards to their engagement with ASEAN and in preparation for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Two meetings were held in November 2013 and April 2014 focussing respectively on the technical areas of skills matching and labour mobility; and increasing productivity through enhancing the safety and health of migrant workers. In partnership with the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC), the ILO assessed the performance of the existing Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) awards system. The research reviewed the design and implementation of the awards system; determined how different stakeholders view the relevance and usefulness of the system; and derived recommendations for its improvement. The report was presented to the POEA first, and then to the recruitment industry and relevant stakeholders in October The ILO also supported a participatory assessment of the WHO Code of Recruitment for Health Personnel. In May 2012 DWAB and the Philippines Department of Health and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) organized global meetings where participants discussed their assessment of the Code. This good practice is being replicated in India. 6

7 In June 2012, the Philippines recruitment industry, under the leadership of DOLE, adopted a Commitment to Ethical Conduct and Best Recruitment Practices of Landbased Agencies. This agreement was ratified by 19 Filipino associations. The ratifying agencies commit to full disclosure on matters pertaining to the employment of the worker and non-discrimination of applicants. In Sri Lanka, the ILO conducted a review of existing recruitment practices and procedures. Upon Recommendation from the stakeholder workshop held to share the review findings in April 2012, the Code of Ethnical Conduct for Recruitment Agents was developed by a Sub-Committee appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare (MFEPW) and finalized after a series of sittings in July The sub-committee also plans to develop a circular to include a monitoring role to regulate the Code s implementation which will be overseen by the countries recruitment body. The ILO conducted a number of awareness-raising sessions on the Code of Conduct among members of the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) in Colombo, Kandy, and Kurunegala in March ILO completed the technical review of the draft Code of Conduct which was submitted by Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) to the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, Government of Bangladesh. A training and review workshop was held with executive committee members of the BAIRA in August The training covered issues such as the role of BAIRA as an association, review of the code of conduct prepared by BAIRA, and review of the Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers Bill before Parliament. Increased capacity of destination and origin countries governments and social partners On 4-8 March 2013, the ILO-ITC-COMPAS (University of Oxford) course on ASEAN Economic Integration and Labour Migration, was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The course equipped senior policy makers with analytical skills and knowledge which can contribute to sound, rights-based national policies and practices on immigration and emigration. Participants were senior officials and workers and employers organizations from major destination countries including Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE). In Malaysia, consultations with labour attachés of sending countries were organized with the support of the Bar Council Malaysia with the aim to improve knowledge of Malaysia s laws and procedures and strengthen communicative relationships between the labour attachés, embassies, authorities, social partners and civil society organizations. Training for labour officers in Malaysia on labour dimensions of trafficking in persons was delivered, with support from ILO specialists from the region and Geneva. Malaysian labour officers were trained on Identifying and Investigating Cases of Forced Labour and Trafficking at the ILO International Training Centre. In Thailand, training has been delivered to tripartite constituents and civil society organizations on ILO Convention 189 on Domestic Work. ILO provided technical support to the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, Government of Bangladesh to run a 5-day training course for 23 Bangladeshi labour attachés in September Increased government and social partner capacity in countries of origin The ILO supported a Training-of-Trainers seminar on Financial Education in Cambodia. The Budget Smart Financial Education for Migrant Workers and their Families package was developed by the ILO and Micro Finance Opportunities (MFO). The five day training of trainers was delivered to 33 7

8 participants (14 women, 19 men) from ILO-supported Migrant Worker Resource Centres, local government officials, trade unions, NGOs and microfinance institutions. In 2013, the Lao People s Democratic Republic Operations Manual on the Protection and Management of Migrant Workers was finalized. The manual was produced in close consultation with three concerned ministries - the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MOLSW), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Public Security (MPS). The manual outlines the procedures for sending national workers abroad and receiving foreign workers in Lao People s Democratic Republic. On April 2013, the ASEAN TRIANGLE project supported a three-day study visit of the Myanmar Labour Minister and six ranking officials from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security to learn more about the programs of the International Labour Affairs Bureau under the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its attached agencies dealing with labour migration. A study tour to Jordan was organized by ILO Bangladesh in collaboration with the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States for Ministry (Expatriate Welfare; Ministry of Finance) officials. The objectives of the study tour were to (a) learn how local labour laws relate to the migrant workers and to enhance the knowledge and understanding of respective migration management systems; (b) identify and resolve the issues and improve the effectiveness of the Bangladesh-Jordan Agreement signed in April 2012; (c) explore overseas employment promotion under protected conditions for women workers in various occupations; and (d) understand the requirements related to various skill categories, competency and accreditation requirements, and explore opportunities for skilled women and men workers. An official of the MEWOE (Bangladesh) was supported to attend the ILO/ITC Labour Migration Academy in May The DWAB project supported a representative of DOLE and a representative of trade unions to attend a workshop on Facilitating Good Governance, Enhancing Protection and Promoting Development, at the ILO/ITC Labour Migration Academy in July In Sri Lanka, the ILO provided support for the development of a six-month diploma course on Migration Studies at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS). The diploma course has the intention of enhancing knowledge of professionals who are working in the field of migration. Representatives of key government departments including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Department of Immigration and Emigration, and the National Task Force on Anti-Trafficking successfully completed the course in August The ILO assisted the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to revise existing pre-departure training materials for domestic workers, to minimise their vulnerability and increase protection. The materials were developed by a multi-stakeholder group and went through a testing period before being printed in Sinhala and Tamil. The materials have been developed with full ownership by the SLBFE and will be used regularly at SLBFE pre-departure training centres throughout the country. In 2012, the ILO conducted a mixed-methods study on Reintegration with Home Community: Perspective of Returnee Migrant Workers in Sri Lanka. The study assessed the reasons for finding overseas employment, the time taken to find a job, availability of productive assets before and after migration, skills upon return, relationship with family, and abuse and discrimination faced in the host country. The study informed a number of policy recommendations focused on the economic, social and psychological impacts of reintegration, and were presented in support of the formulation of a reintegration sub-policy. In Sri Lanka in 2012, the ILO commissioned a study to identify common grievances and complaints held by migrant workers, review mediatory mechanisms, assess deficiencies, and propose remedial 8

9 actions. Following on from the study, a training needs assessment was conducted among conciliation officers of the SLBFE. Two capacity building programmes for conciliation officers, a Training of Trainers programme, and a strategy for the continuous capacity building of conciliation officers for further use and reference by the MFEPW were also developed. Assessment reports on the legislative and institutional frameworks for managing temporary labour migration were carried out in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, with findings and recommendations discussed and action plans drafted. A study tour by the Government of Nauru Technical Officer in Labour Migration to the Labour Migration Unit of the Department of Labour in Vanuatu was a successful example of effective southsouth cooperation among countries of origin. Support services provided through Migrant Worker Resource Centres (MRCs) Support services were provided to migrant workers, potential migrant workers and members of their families in Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao People s Democratic Republic, Thailand, and Malaysia through 23 Migrant Worker Resource Centres (MRCs). Government, trade unions and civil society organizations run the MRCs and provide information, counselling and legal assistance to visitors, as well as conduct outreach, information dissemination, training and organizing activities. To date, 38,422 women and men have been assisted, including 21,779 potential migrants and migrants in countries of origin; and 16,643 migrants in countries of destination. Of the 36,592 beneficiaries for whom their sex has been documented, 40 per cent are women, and 60 per cent are men. As of May 2014, over US$1 million in financial compensation has been ordered for 2,444 complainants (1,114 men and 1,330 women) in Malaysia and Thailand. Bilateral and regional cooperation Inter-country trade union agreements and collaboration The sub-regional Seminar on Improving Trade Union Cooperation between Labour Sending and Receiving Countries in ASEAN was held in Hanoi in July Seminar participants discussed good practices and put forward a number of country-level and sub-regional strategies. The focus of these strategies was on strengthening cooperation among sending and receiving country trade unions, and on documenting and sharing good practices. In November 2013, the ILO supported the drafting of an MOU between trade unions in Thailand and trade unions in Cambodia. The MOU promotes a rights-based approach to labour migration and the protection, education and organizing of migrant workers. The MOU is guided by the ACTRAV trade union manual, In Search of Decent Work: Migrant Workers Rights, as well as key ILO conventions concerning migrant workers rights. In May 2013, a Lao Federation of Trade Union (LFTU) delegation conducted a study tour to Thailand to discuss cooperation with Thai trade unions. A workshop on the Promotion of Bilateral Cooperation between Lao Federation of Trade Unions and Thai Trade Unions on the Protection of Migrant Workers was held. The event was attended by the LFTU delegates and representatives from three Thai Trade Unions: the Labour Congress of Thailand, the Thai Trade Union Congress, and the National Congress of Private Industrial Employees. The workshop finalized a draft MOU between Lao People s Democratic Republic trade unions and Thailand to provide a framework for improved cooperation. In October 2012 the Malaysian Trades Union Congress organized a visit by the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the Vietnamese Association of Manpower Supply (VAMAS) to 9

10 Malaysia to meet with key partners and stakeholders including trade unions, several government departments, the Vietnamese Embassy and faith-based organizations. Specific lessons learned during this trip have been raised at tripartite consultations and policy dialogue meetings, and have informed VGCL project interventions. An international trade union meeting on the role of trade unions in enhancing access and portability of social protection entitlements was held November 2013, in Berlin. Trade union members from the Philippines, India, Viet Nam, and key destination countries of Germany, Finland, Denmark and Norway contributed to the meeting. The objectives of the meeting were to strengthen solidarity between trade unions in origin and destination countries; build a common understanding on the policy frameworks, realities and challenges in ensuring access to social protection for migrant health and social care workers; and formulate three-year action plans. Strengthened regional cooperation and actions in the ASEAN region The ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) is a forum for the review, discussion and exchange of best practices and ideas between governments, workers and employers organizations, and civil society stakeholders on key issues facing migrant workers in South-East Asia, and a platform to develop policy recommendations to advance the implementation of the principles of the ASEAN Declaration on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The ASEAN TRIANGLE project has provided technical and financial support to the 5 th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), held in October 2012 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A background paper on progress on the implementation of the recommendations adopted at the 3 rd and 4 th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour was also produced. The SURAC (Subregional Advisory Committee) meeting is an ILO platform for tripartite constituents to share information and experiences, and provide guidance on labour migration management and anti-trafficking efforts in GMS and ASEAN. In June 2013 the 8 th session of SURAC was held. The objectives of the meeting were to share information on national developments and project progress; strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation and identify shared priorities; and discuss key findings and develop responses to the recommendations of the GMS TRIANGLE project mid-term evaluation. Participants included government, employers and workers organizations, civil society organizations and research institutions. Enhanced regional cooperation in South Asia In July 2013 in Bangladesh, an Intergovernmental Regional Seminar on Promoting Cooperation for Safe Migration and Decent Work was organized by the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE). Delegates came from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and countries of origin and destination, to undertake collective analysis on the issues that affect labour market governance. The seminar resulted in the adoption of the Dhaka Statement covering Effective Governance of Labour Migration, Protection of Migrant Workers, in particular Women Migrant Workers, and Regulation of Recruitment. In December 2012, an MOU between the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Bangladesh was signed on the establishment of a Government-to-Government system for managing labour migration. The ILO provided comments during the drafting of the agreement. In November 2013, a study tour of Indian government officials to learn about the Philippines experience in the governance of migration was held in Manila. Participants shared good practices, and enhanced their knowledge on the requirements of a government-run overseas employment program. 10

11 The National Workshop on the Review and Implementation of the Inter-Ministerial MOU between Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Korea was held in August 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan. One of the key meeting aims was to identify gaps in the current system of EPS operations between Republic of Korea and Pakistan, and suggest ways to enhance the efficiency of the EPS system. Inter-regional cooperation with Arab States On September 2013, a workshop organized by ILO/SARTUC in Nepal on Promoting Trade Union Cooperation on Labour Migration in Origin and Destination countries was held. The workshop brought together members of the South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC), members of the trade unions in South Asia, and representatives from migrant worker communities in Bahrain, Jordan and Lebanon. Participants agreed on a Plan of Action containing strategies to be adopted by trade unions in sending and receiving countries. This activity was organised by the ILO Regional Office for Arab States in Beirut. Following a desk review and a study, an Operational Guideline for Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions in Labour Receiving Countries was prepared. It was discussed and reviewed at the Regional Consultation on Welfare and Protection of Migrant Workers, held in May 2012, in Amman, Jordan. The Operational Guideline was validated at the meeting, and the Guideline was published and launched on 4 April The ILO subsequently supported two sensitization seminars on the Operational Manual for Home-based Labour Welfare Officers and officers from the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment. A second edition of the Operational Manual was published in December 2013, which includes financial guidelines for diplomatic mission staff and the local regulatory body for better coordination. The ILO has provided support on the development of two bilateral agreements on labour migration concerning Nepal. Legal and migration experts from the ILO have reviewed the two agreements and provided comprehensive sets of comments on the two documents. 11

12 Annex 1: Overview of ILO projects in the region The ILO Regional Office for Asia Pacific is executing nine technical cooperation projects throughout Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. ILO/Korea Project on Improving Policies and Employment Conditions of Migrant Workers (January 2013 July 2014). The project covers 14 countries in Asia and is directed towards three thematic areas: competitiveness, productivity and jobs; labour market governance and social protection; and labour migration. Supported by the Ministry of Labor and Employment, Republic of Korea Tripartite Action to Protect Migrants within and from the GMS from Labour Exploitation (GMS TRIANGLE), (July 2010 June 2015). The project covers major destination countries in the region, Thailand and Malaysia, and major sending countries, Myanmar, Cambodia, Viet Nam and Lao People s Democratic Republic. The project aims to strengthen migrant recruitment and labour protection policies and practices; enhance the capacity of tripartite constituents; and protect the rights of women and men migrants and potential migrants through increased access to support services. Supported by the Australian Government. Tripartite Action to Protect Migrants from Labour Exploitation in the ASEAN region (ASEAN TRIANGLE), (April 2012 December 2016). The ASEAN TRIANGLE project aims to significantly reduce the exploitation of labour migrants in the region through increased legal and safe migration and improved labour protection. The project is implemented in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Supported by the Government of Canada. Promoting Decent Work through Good Governance, Protection and Empowerment of Migrant Workers- Phase II (Sri Lanka) (March 2013 September 2015). Phase II of the project focuses on the effective implementation of the Sri Lanka National Labour Migration Policy. The project aims to improve access to information to ensure informed and safe migration; increase access to justice for migrant workers and their families by strengthening grievance-addressing mechanisms, ethical recruitment practices, and antitrafficking measures; support the reintegration of returnee migrant workers; and to share project outcomes among social partners at international, regional and local levels. Supported by the Government of Switzerland (Swiss Development Cooperation-SDC). Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh, (July 2011 June 2015). The project was initiated at the request of the Government of Bangladesh, with funding from the SDC, to improve the overall management of labour migration and to ensure protection and decent employment conditions to Bangladeshi migrant workers. The objectives of the project are strengthened policy and institutional frameworks to improve migration management and protection of migrant workers; improved operational efficiency and effectiveness in overseas employment promotion; and strengthened social protection of women and men migrants, available in countries of destination and upon return. Supported by the Government of Switzerland (SDC). A Pilot Scheme on Promoting the Circular Migration of Health Care Professional and Skilled Workers through Specialized Employment Services and Skills Certification and Testing, (February 2011 August 2014). The project seeks to engage tripartite constituents in policy dialogues; establish networks of experts and trained practitioners; strengthen employment services for health care professionals; facilitate skills recognition and enhance labour market information systems. The project focuses its activities on three Asian countries with significant outflows of health professionals and skilled workers for foreign employment, namely: the Philippines, India and Viet Nam. Supported by the European Union. Promoting the Effective Governance of Labour Migration from South Asia through Actions on Labour Market Information, Protection during Recruitment and Employment, Skills and Development Impact, 12

13 (June 2013 May 2016). The project promotes effective governance of labour migration focusing on workers from India, Nepal and Pakistan migrating to the GCC. Strategies include access to accurate and reliable information on job opportunities and requirements in the GCC and job-matching; pre-departure information and training; portability of skills; better recruitment services including lower recruitment costs; protection during employment including linkages to local service providers; and support to reintegration upon return to country of origin. Supported by the European Union. Enhancing the Capacity of Pacific Island Countries to Address the Impacts of Climate Change on Migration ( ). Operational in Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu, the project aims to build the knowledge base on migration and on the projected impact of climate change; improve migration data collection mechanisms; and enhance national capacities to effectively participate in and manage regional and bilateral migrations schemes, particularly with regard to PIC participation in seasonal workers programmes of Australia and New Zealand. Supported by the European Union. Strengthening Capacity to Implement Australia s Seasonal Worker Program in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, ( ). The project seeks to maximise the benefits from seasonal migration schemes in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The project aims to improve government capacity to formulate and implement migration law and policy to protect the rights of migrant workers during recruitment and while overseas; to develop and implement mechanisms for recruitment of seasonal workers and provision of pre-departure support services; and raise the uptake of the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) by increasing visibility, communication and links between government, social partners and communities in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, and Australian employers. Supported by the Australian Government. For further information please contact: Nilim Baruah, Regional Migration Specialist ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific United Nations Building Rajdamnerrn Nok Avenue Bangkok 10200, Thailand Tel: Fax:

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