Areas of work in labour migration

  1. Socio-economic reintegration

    There are a number of structural and circumstantial challenges that can prevent the socio-economic reintegration of labour migrants and refugees. Some are inherent to the migration or displacement experience. A prolonged stay abroad often creates challenges for returnees to find employment opportunities, primarily due to the loss of contact with prior networks in their home country.

  2. Fair recruitment

    Many migrant workers rely on the services of public and private employment agencies. When appropriately regulated, agencies play an important role in the efficient and equitable functioning of labour markets by matching available jobs with suitably qualified workers. However, concerns have been raised about the growing role of unscrupulous employment agencies, informal labour intermediaries and other operators acting outside the legal and regulatory framework that prey especially on low-skilled workers. Despite the existence of international labour standards relating to recruitment, national laws and their enforcement often fall short of protecting the rights of workers, and migrant workers in particular. Fair recruitment aims to ensure that recruitment is carried out within the law, in line with international labour standards, and with respect for human rights, without discrimination and protecting workers from abusive situations.

  3. © S. Chakraborty/Mountain Partnership 2018

    Climate change, displacement and labour migration

    Climate change, migration and displacement are intricately linked. However, when addressing migration related issues, focus is often placed on “traditional” key drivers of migration such as conflict, poverty and economic inequality, because demonstrating that climate variables also induce migration is more challenging.

  4. Labour migration: Guidance for journalists

    All too frequently, xenophobia against migrant workers is fuelled by populist attitudes that are divorced from the reality on the ground. Wittingly or unwittingly, media can play its part in creating an unbalanced discourse about migration, including labour migration. ILO provides rights-based guidance to journalists on this issue.

  5. © Kivanc Ozvardar / ILO

    Crisis migration

    Fragility, conflict and disaster are the main drivers of forced displacement. Unresolved conflicts and on-going fragility in many countries, together with a lack of solutions over the years has led to protracted displacement for increasing numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

    Displacement is disruptive to peoples’ employment and livelihood prospects. A range of factors, such as the socio-economic conditions of the host country, legislation and policies around the protection of refugees and the right to work, as well as other practical issues mediate people’ capacity to access the labour market and decent jobs.

  6. Migration and development

    The human desire to seek decent employment and livelihoods is at the core of the migration-development nexus. As more people cross borders to work in the coming years, international migration policies that protect the rights of migrant workers will be essential to achieving economic growth.

  7. Research projects

    The movement of workers across borders has multiple effects on the migrants’ countries of origin and destination, and workers’ migration experiences vary substantially. Protecting the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own – as per ILO’s Constitution – will only be possible if enough is known about what works where, how and why.

  8. Social protection for migrant workers

    Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable and exposed to certain risks. However, migrant workers are among the most neglected when it comes to social protection coverage and access. MIGRANT advocates for the effective extension of social protection instruments to migrant workers and works with its constituents and partners to do so.

  9. Skills and migration

    Designing and implementing sound labour market information systems, including accurate labour market needs assessment and skills anticipation, and putting in place processes for skills recognition are important to prevent brain waste and deskilling, poor labour market integration and deterioration of working conditions for all workers. The ILO has, among other things, been delivering capacity building for improved counselling services for job seekers, including potential and return migrants, analysing the function of private recruitment agencies, and working towards improving skills identification and matching in national employment and migration policies.

  10. Tripartism and Migration

    Labour migration, by its very nature, is interwoven overall labour market policies and specific policy areas such as workers’ rights, skills development and skills recognition, job creation, education and vocational training and social protection. As the key stakeholders in employing migrant workers and representing both migrants and national workers, the perspectives of workers’ and employers’ organizations are crucial to the elaboration and implementation of credible, viable and sustainable migration policy and practice.

  11. Migrant domestic workers

    The link between domestic work and female international labour migration is well-established. Households' growing demand for domestic services is considered to be one of the main triggers of the feminization of labour migration which has been witnessed in the past decade.

  12. Labour migration statistics

    One of the most important resources of a country is its labour force. With populations growing and labour participation rates shrinking in richer countries of the world and demand for labour from globalised labour markets increasing, the influence of labour migration on the size and composition of a country’s work force is becoming increasingly and undeniably palpable. A good understanding of the labour force (skills, occupations, working conditions etc.) is topical for developing effective labour market policies but also to advance inclusive and equitable economic, social and migration policies.

  13. Labour migration and remittances

    Migrant workers’ remittances are private individual earnings sent by migrants to their families or communities. These are primarily used for food, education, improved housing and health care. Remittances are the expression of migrant workers’ solidarity with their families and communities. As a private and autonomous financial resource that crosses borders, remittances can also be pivotal in transforming the benefits of labour migration into development.