On International Migrants' Day, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) says the successful management of global labour
mobility can best be achieved through the implementation of
comprehensive and cooperative policies that ensure protection of
the rights of migrants and of temporary contractual workers.
IOM is pleased to note recent strong indications that the world is
ready for better management of global labour mobility.
"Protecting the human rights of migrants and of temporary
contractual workers is paramount to ensuring global labour mobility
delivers its full economic and human potential for the benefit of
all concerned," says IOM's Director General Brunson McKinley.
Labour mobility is a key feature of globalization with a
significant impact on the global economy. In 2007, migrant workers
from developing countries sent home through formal channels more
than US$240 billion, whilst at the same time making significant
contributions to the economic growth and prosperity of host
When effectively managed, international labour mobility can also
play an important role in helping migrants acquire knowledge and
skills which can promote development in the home country, as was
highlighted during the Global Forum on Migration and Development
held in Brussels in July 2007.
Despite their positive contribution to the global economy,
migrant workers and temporary contractual labourers continue to
face challenges in many parts of the world, including poor working
conditions and various forms of abuse and discrimination.
To complement strong national legal frameworks, inter-state
dialogue and cooperation on labour mobility are crucial for
economic, developmental and social progress and are also the best
guarantee of respect for the human rights of migrants.
"Protecting the human rights of migrant and contractual workers
can be achieved through strong partnerships between countries of
origin and destination, agencies with an interest in labour
mobility and other important partners such as the private sector,"
says McKinley. "This is why IOM lends its support and expertise to
regional dialogues, such as the very important Colombo Process of
eleven Asian labour countries of origin."
In January 2008, the Colombo Process ministers will meet in Abu
Dhabi, UAE, with ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council and
other Asian labour destination countries. "This meeting exemplifies
the way countries of origin from Asia and countries of destination
from the Gulf Cooperation Council can come together to find
practical ways to improve the well-being of Asian contractual
workers in the Gulf region," says
Whilst there is growing recognition that managed labour mobility
is indispensable to global growth and development, much more needs
to be done to ensure the safe and efficient matching of supply and
demand for global labour. Failing to recognize this will result in
increased migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons and in more
human rights violations.
"Promoting transparent recruitment and employment policies is
essential to uphold the rights of migrants and contractual
workers," says Brunson McKinley. "Other measures to reduce their
vulnerability include the provision of technical assistance to help
countries identify their human resource needs and skills profiles
as well as measures to facilitate the certification of
For IOM, preparing migrants and contractual labourers prior to
their departure is also a critical step to ensuring they are aware
of their rights and obligations.
In an increasingly mobile world, the international community
needs to mobilize now to develop comprehensive and action-oriented
approaches to manage labour mobility for the benefit of all.
Migrants Day Celebrations 2007