IOM to Launch International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) in Bangladesh
Dhaka – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the support of the European Union, recently organized a workshop in Dhaka to prepare key stakeholders for the imminent launch of the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) in Bangladesh.
The workshop, part of the European Union (EU) funded project, Prottasha, sought to improve migration governance and ensure sustainable reintegration of returnees from EU member states. It was attended by representatives from key ministries, development partners, recruiting agencies, research institutions and national media.
While remittance inflows have been on the rise with USD 13.6 Billion coming into Bangladesh in 2018, Bangladeshi migrants are often victims of abuse and exploitation mainly due to unethical recruitment practices. The other reasons are lack of information, influence of middlemen, low skill sets and migrant workers’ limited knowledge of their rights and services available to them.
According to statistics shared by UN Women, over 70 per cent of Bangladesh women are believed to have been victims of unethical recruitment practices, a probable reason for decrease in female migrants between 2015 – 2017.
“Many Bangladeshis working abroad are unaware of migration challenges,” said Rownak Jahan, Bangladesh Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary. “We cannot continue to send migrants without adequate training – an agenda the ministry has taken as top priority.”
"Ethical recruitment practices are essential to improve worker protection, prevent value erosion of their remittances due to excessive levels of debt, strengthen labour broker‐employer relations and reduce the appeal of irregular migration." said Audrey Maillot, Team Leader Governance from the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh.
The Government and the Bangladesh Association for International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) believe, a viable solution to tackle unethical recruitment practices would be adopting an employer pay model.
“We are partnering with different stakeholders at this stage to see how an effective recruitment system can be devised for the country,” said Sharon Dimanche, IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission. “The objective is to have a system that’s not only fair to the migrants but also the employers.”
Earlier this year, IOM has jointly formed a technical working group with BAIRA that will work closely with key stakeholders in establishing systematic tools like IOM’s IRIS to improve labour recruiters’ transparency in the hiring process.
IRIS is a voluntary multi-stakeholder certification system for international labour recruiters which is based on international human rights instruments, ILO Conventions and guidelines, as well as best practice from the recruitment industry. It helps to protect and empower migrant workers by eliminating exploitation in the recruitment process as well as helps recruiting agencies gain competitive market advantage by establishing themselves as fair, transparent and responsible entities.