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07 Dec 2022

IRIS Handbook for Governments on Ethical Recruitment and Migrant Worker Protection: Chapter 1 - Adopting a rights-based regulatory approach to international labour recruitment

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This resource is the first chapter of the IRIS Handbook for Governments on Ethical Recruitment and Migrant Worker Protection. It provides governments with practical guidance on how to adopt and strengthen a rights-based framework to regulate private international labour recruiters and uphold migrant worker protection. The chapter covers a comprehensive range of themes including: regulatory measures (key definitions and terms, legal status of labour recruiters, ethical rules of conduct); enforcement and oversight (mandating authorities and sanctions); and access to justice (complaint mechanisms and complementary measures). Guidance is intended for government officials in their capacities as policymakers and regulators at various levels of administration (national, subnational) and across relevant portfolios (immigration, labour, foreign affairs, etc.). It can be applied in countries of origin, transit and destination.

The IRIS Handbook is IOM’s flagship global guidance tool for governments on ethical recruitment and migrant worker protection. It builds directly on the Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Road Map towards Better Regulation with more detailed measures for consideration, and profiles relevant concrete actions that governments around the world have taken.

  • Acknowledgements 
  • List of figures 
  • Purpose and scope 
  • Introduction 
  • 1 Overarching recommendations to guide the regulatory process 
  • 2 Regulatory measures 
    • Defining key terms 
      • Migrant worker 
      • Recruitment services 
      • International labour recruiter 
      • Employer 
    • Determining the legal status of labour recruiters 
      • Prohibition 
      • Licensing 
      • Registration 
      • Recognizing informal intermediaries 
    • Establishing fair and ethical rules of conduct 
      • Recruitment fees and related costs  
      • Employment contracts 
      • Freedom from deception and coercion 
      • Freedom of movement 
      • Access to information 
  • 3 Strengthening enforcement through regulation 
  • Mandating authorities 
    • Institutional framework 
    • Inspection powers 
  • Enabling collaboration 
    • Intra-State cooperation 
    • Establishing firewalls 
  • Joint and several liability 
  • Sanctions 
  • 4 Empowering migrant workers to access justice 
  • Mandating complaint mechanisms 
    • Barriers to accessing recourse 
    • Responsive design features 
  • Complementary measures 
    • Legal assistance 
    • Facilitation of immigration status
    • Incentives through sanctions 
  • Resources