Over half the world’s migrants are active in the labor force, and demographic challenges coupled with globalization will continue to drive labor mobility in the future. Workers in the developing world are expected to grow faster than the jobs created for them in their home countries, while demand for migrant labor in the developed world is surging. Many employers now seek migrant workers to fill gaps in all sectors and skill levels, and there is a need to protect these workers’ rights to ensure the full potential of labor mobility.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a series of briefings in New York City to discuss contemporary labor migration issues. USCIB’s Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg represented the voice of business at an IOM briefing about the ethical recruitment of migrant workers on May 22, 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York City.
She reiterated the International Organization of Employer’s (IOE) commitment to fair recruitment practices and to fight forced labor and trafficking. She also announced a joint imitative between the IOM and IOE, the International Recruitment and Integrity System (IRIS), designed to protect migrant workers’ rights.
Goldberg noted that employers, who create jobs and stimulate development, have an essential role to play in the migration debate. Private sector knowledge of markets and staffing trends, along with employers’ practical workings of immigration laws and procedures, can provide vital information to governments to clarify and improve regulatory regimes.
“It is in the interest of all responsible employers, wherever they do business, to have clear, transparent, and efficient national immigration laws and policies that permit the movement of employees when and where they are needed,” Goldberg said.
She also called for the harmonization of national immigration laws across borders to facilitate cross-country labor migration. Improved regulatory regimes would also lower the costs businesses incur as they hire and transfer employees across borders, she said.
Unskilled migrant laborers are one of the most vulnerable segments of the population. The IOM and the IOE have announced a partnership initiative, IRIS, to protect workers’ rights.
“Specifically, IOE and IOM have agreed to partner in a voluntary certification process for international recruiters to help protect migrant workers and their employers from abusive practices,” Goldberg said. “For the IOE, it will be a demonstration that employers adhere to fair recruitment practices and are fully committed to fight forced labour and trafficking.”