UN labour agency agrees to plan to promote better rights for migrant workers

16 June 2004

The United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) today agreed to a new plan designed to give 86 million migrant workers around the world the protection of international labour standards.

After two weeks of debate at the ILO annual conference in Geneva, a committee on migrant workers adopted an action plan that it said should better manage the flow of international migration for jobs.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia described the plan as “a major achievement that serves as a milestone for the future…this plan of action protects the rights of one of the most vulnerable sectors.”

The plan will be non-binding and is aimed to encourage Member States and international organizations to cooperate more to improve living conditions for millions of migrant workers.

The plan will promote the signing of agreements between host countries and countries of origin with the aim of regularizing and controlling the flow of migration. These agreements would include provisions about taking social security entitlements to other countries, encouraging investments from workers’ remittances and promoting social inclusion within host countries.

The ILO wants to license and supervise agencies that recruit migrant workers to ensure they conform to international standards.

The plan also calls for tougher action to prevent the widespread practice of people smuggling.

Last July the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families came into force. However, only 25 countries have so far ratified that treaty.


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