Capacity Building in Labour Migration Management

A labour migration project launched today, will provide support to
the Haitian government to strengthen its capacity to provide
support and protection to Haitian migrants that regularly take up
short-term labour opportunities in neighbouring countries. The
project will provide technical support to the government on the
formulation of bilateral labour migration agreements with
neighbouring countries that are host to significant and growing
numbers of Haitian labour migrants.

IOM will work with the concerned government ministries and
relevant non-governmental actors on enhancing their institutional
capacities by making available legal and migration management
expertise that will guide the Haitian government in framing a
comprehensive labour migration management strategy.

At the end of the implementation period, the project will
deliver recommendations for action that will be essential if the
Haitian government is to establish an institutional framework to
govern Haitian labour migration, thereby ensuring provision of
clear conditions of contracting, pre-departure briefings, support
in countries of destination through trained labour attachés,
and post-return support.

In Haiti, as in many other Caribbean countries, unemployment and
underemployment is pushing more and more people to seek employment
opportunities abroad. In the case of Haiti, this trend has been
exacerbated in recent times by political instability and
devastating environmental degradation.

However, the lack of an institutional and legal framework for
labour migration has allowed irregular labour flows to the
countries in the region, mainly to the Dominican Republic and the
Bahamas, to continue.

While there are no reliable statistics, conservative estimates
put the number of Haitians in the Dominican Republic at some
500,000, a figure that excludes Dominicans of Haitian origin.

In the case of the Bahamas, its proximity to Haiti and its
strong economy has made it a favoured destination of Haitian
migrants. A recent survey carried out by IOM and the College of the
Bahamas estimates the Haitian presence in the Bahamas to range
roughly from 30,000-60,000.

It is estimated that one million Haitians left the country
between 1957 and 1982. While many of the migrants in the 1950s and
1960s were urban middle-class and upper-class opponents of the
government of François Duvalier (1957-71), in the 1970s an
increasing number of rural and lower-class urban Haitians left the
country, many through irregular means, in search of better economic

However, according to IOM’s chief of mission in Haiti,
Maureen Achieng, "the absence of a legal framework has served to
worsen the conditions under which Haitian labour migrants workers
are contracted, live and work in."

Annual remittances from Haitians migrants, estimated to be as
high as US$100 million, support thousands of poor families and
provide an important infusion of capital into the Haitian

“This is an important reason for the government of
Haiti’s renewed commitment to work toward the formulation of
labour migration accords with host countries in the region,”
adds Achieng.

This project is financed by IOM's 1035 Facility, which provides
special support to IOM developing member states and member states
with economies in transition, for the development and
implementation of joint government-IOM projects to address
particular areas of migration management. Since its inception in
2001, the Facility has supported over 120 projects in various areas
of IOM activity and has benefited more than 80 member states.

For more information contact:

Carol Joseph

IOM Port au Prince

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Maureen Achieng

Tel: 509/244.12.47/245 5153

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