MANILA – Asian recruitment agencies from 11 countries, including the Philippines, and international migration stakeholders convened in Manila to further improve ethical recruitment practices.
The International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) have joined forces to boost the awareness of ethical recruitment to prevent migrant workers from falling prey to unscrupulous brokers.
"Recruitment is a complex system. There is a need for multi-stakeholders and multilateral approaches to improving the governance of migration. It is in the best interest of the recruitment sector to document, adopt, comply with and monitor ethical recruitment practices," said Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.
Johnson added that "industry initiatives are a complement to the essential role of government in the regulation of the industry and the promotion of a level playing field where recruitment agencies can operate under the same set of regulations and not to be undercut by the practices of unscrupulous or unauthorized intermediaries."
The ILO -- through its Decent Work across Borders Project supported with a 2 million euro grant from the European Union -- and the IOM -- through a 1.5 million euro European Union grant in support of the Strengthening Labor Migration Capacities Project-- will bring together government and private recruitment industry representatives from the Colombo Process member states, namely from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam and other various migration experts to contribute in bringing into light models and tools in view of the enhancement of ethical recruitment practices.
The delegates will discuss issues, practices and challenges on ethical recruitment including steps to strengthen national industry associations. The dialogue will be held under the auspices of the 2nd Regional Conference of the Alliance of Asian Associations of Overseas Employment Service Providers (AAA-OESP). The first such regional meeting was organized by the IOM, in 2008.
The Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines said that "Illegal recruitment and unethical recruitment are some of the most urgent issues that need to be addressed not only by government but by the private sector as well. The EU welcomes the creation of an Asia-wide alliance of overseas employment service providers (AAA-OESP) and looks forward to the signing of the Commitment to Action on Ethical Recruitment which should contribute to migrants' safe and humane migration."
In 2012, the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT) reported that there were 12.4 million agency workers, recruited nationally and internationally, in full-time equivalents across the globe.
"CIETT and its members in Asia are committed to contribute to decent employment and fight malpractices on the labor market, in the knowledge that well-regulated private employment services both meet the enterprises’ need for flexibility and the need of employees for secure working conditions," said Steve Shepherd from CIETT.
The IOM's Chief of Mission in Manila, Marco Boasso, said "the role of recruitment agencies to match jobs with skills and to address the mutual needs between employers and workers as well as between origin and destination countries is strategic. As individuals, households, industries and economies rely on the economic gain that can be facilitated by recruitment, it is therefore important to ensure integrity in international recruitment system".
A representative signatory to the 2008 Commitment to Action on Ethical Recruitment, Rene Cristobal from the Philippines strongly recommends "for international organizations to support a continuing platform for dialogue among all stakeholders in the recruitment industry".
"The responsible practitioners in the recruitment industry in Asia must take leadership to spread their good practices and deepen the cooperation between and among their constituencies," Cristobal said.