Ad Hoc Working Group on Protecting and Empowering Migrants
At the Manila GFMD in October 2008, participants agreed that countries of origin and host countries have a shared responsibility and shared vested interests in protecting and empowering migrants. It was suggested that countries can learn from each other and emulate the more successful practices at national, regional, and international levels. The ad hoc Working Group on protecting and empowering migrants for development has been created inter alia to ensure continued focus on the human rights of migrants.
The objectives of the working group are to promote a commonality of understanding within the GFMD about migrant rights’ and governments’ shared responsibility in protecting and empowering migrants, and to encourage the pursuit by governments of good practices in protecting and empowering migrants at all stages of the migration cycle.
The ad hoc Working Group on protecting and empowering migrants for development was established in 2009 by the current co-chairs, the Governments of the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. It has benefited from the participation of the governments of Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, India, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Spain,Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Thailand, and the expertise of international agencies, academia and experts.
Achievements and outcomes
The working group has helped to implement selected outcomes of 2009 and earlier GFMD meetings. For 2010, the WG focused on two areas of principal interest for further studies, linked to earlier GFMD outcomes and the GFMD agenda for 2010: i), the promotion of partnerships to reduce the cost and risks of migration throughout the migration cycle, and ii), the protection and empowerment of migrants throughout the migration cycle, regardless of the migrants’ status.
Three studies were successfully completed as part of the work plan of 2010, namely: a) Comparative study of social protection schemes for temporary migrant workers; b) Testing low cost loans schemes for migrant workers; c) Community project in Argentina to combat discrimination against migrants through training workshops. An overview of activities, these studies and other working group related documents can be downloaded here:
- (2010, October) Report of Activities Working Group on Protecting and Empowering Migrants
- (2010, October) Robert Holzmann and Yann Pouget: Social Protection for Temporary Migrant Workers: Conceptual Framework, Country Inventory, Assessment and Guidance (World Bank and Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration, Marseille)
- (2010) Case-study Argentina: INADI - Establishing a culture of equality - A community project for migrants
- (2009, October) IOM: Migrant Resource Centres: Examining Global Good Practices in Providing Services to Empower Migrants for Development and Protection
- (2009, September) John Willoughby: Preparing Contract Workers for Return and Reintegration – Relevant for Development?
- (2009, August) Philip Martin: Reducing the Cost Burden for Migrant Workers: A Market-based Approach.
The ad hoc Working Group has proposed a work plan that builds on its earlier work to protect and empower migrants, and supports the themes of Cluster I of GFMD 2011. This includes:
- The workshop on Recruitment of Workers for Overseas Employment, which successfully took place in Dubai, January 18-19, 2011, was hosted by the UAE, in collaboration with ILO, IOM and OHCHR, with the support of the Swiss Chair, and engaging governments from Asia and the Gulf States, as well as the private sector and civil society.
The workshop marked the first thematic meeting of GFMD 2011 under Cluster 1.2 on “Lowering the costs of migration for higher development gains”. Its outcomes include a set of baseline policies and principles to support and protect temporary contract workers abroad. The summary report is on the GFMD website.
- Based on the outcomes of the Dubai meeting, UAE proposes to work with Bangladesh, India and Philippines on a generic architecture of protection and empowerment, which would include:
- developing a contract validation system to combat contract substitution;
- testing a low cost loans scheme for temporary contract workers abroad;
- developing a draft framework of regional cooperation on recruitment practices to be submitted for consideration by COOs and CODs of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue process.
- Philippines and Argentina are discussing with WHO and IOM a possible study and workshop on health issues in the context of temporary/circular labor mobility. The focus will be on both the medicals that temporary workers are required to undergo before departure (and sometimes after arrival) and access to health care while abroad. This follows up on an outcome of Puerto Vallarta in 2010 and will contribute to the discussion on lowering costs of migration in Cluster 1.2 this year.
- A workshop to be held in Bangladesh, in the context of the Colombo Process, will address key issues of protecting and empowering temporary contract workers abroad arising from the Dubai meeting, from the perspective of countries of origin. This has received tacit support from the Swiss GFMD Chair, and will be discussed further in the context of planning Colombo Process events in 2011. Bangladesh will keep the Working Group apprised of developments.
- The WG will look at the 2010 report by Prof. Holzmann (World Bank) on Social Protection for Temporary Migrant Workers for possible follow-up and inclusion in the work plan for 2011.
- The WG members also agreed to maintain a “watching brief” over the sub-theme Global care workers at the interface of migration and development in Cluster 1.3 of the GFMD Concept for 2011, in view of its clear relevance for protecting and empowering migrants for development. Three meetings were envisaged in Asia (India), Africa and the Americas, and key players such as UN Women, or the hosting governments (such as India) could be invited to speak to this issue at the next WG meeting. The WG Coordinator would also report to the WG on any developments in this area.
(Note: if governments agree to establish a working group on Gender in 2011 (as recommended by some), this item would be taken over by that working group.)
- Overview of Activities and Achievements 2008-2012
- Informal Survey Outcomes Summary (as at 01 May 2012)
- Minutes of Meeting (Geneva, 26 April 2012)
- Report of Activities
- Report of Meeting (Geneva, 9 February 2011)
- Workshop on Recruitment of Workers for Overseas Employment (Dubai, January 18-19, 2011)
- Report of Activities (as of 30 October 2010)