Strengthening labour migration governance through tripartism and social dialogue in the formulation and implementation of evidence-based and gender-sensitive labour migration policies, legislation and practices

The participation of ILO’s tripartite constituents (Ministries of Labour, workers and employers’ organizations) at the local, national, bilateral, regional, interregional and global levels is central to achieving fair labour migration governance and can strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of labour migration policies, legislation and practices. A key objective of the ILO is to continue supporting and enhancing ILO’s tripartite constituents’ capacity in this area. The ILO has provided technical advice to the AU and to Regional Economic Communities (RECs) concerning labour migration provisions included in Free Movement of Persons Protocols. The ILO has also largely supported the following processes at the RECs and country-level:
  • The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Employment and Labour Sector (ELS) includes social partner representation and functions in a tripartite manner and has taken a number of steps to regulate migration and protect migrant workers’ rights. In 2013, a first SADC Labour Migration Action Plan was approved by ministers responsible for employment and labour and the social partners and a second SADC’s 2016-19 Labour Migration Action Plan was approved consequently. The SADC Employment and Labour Sector (ELS) Committee also endorsed the Labour Migration Policy Framework and adopted a Protocol on Employment and Labour in 2014. These instruments encourage SADC members to put in place national labour migration policies by 2020. The ILO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) provide technical assistance for this process.
  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) now counts with Tripartite dialogue on labour migration and a recently established Social Dialogue Forum which has produced draft guidelines on strengthening the protection of migrant workers’ rights in the sub-region. A General Convention on social security was adopted to guarantee the portability of social security rights for migrant workers, with an administrative arrangement to facilitate its implementation. A working group on labour migration was established under the forum in 2017.
  • The ILO is also working with the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in enhancing ILO’s tripartite constituents’ capacity in this area.
At the national level, the ILO has provided targeted technical assistance leading to labour migration policy development through tripartite consultations (and often including inter-ministerial collaboration) in the following countries:
  • In South Africa, the Cabinet approved a white paper on international migration in March 2017 as the culmination of a long process of consultation and social dialogue engagement between government, workers, employers and civil society, including the consortium of refugees and migrants in South Africa. The white paper seeks to promote the regularization of semi-skilled and unskilled economic migrants, including migrant domestic workers. It also provides a framework for the integration of international migrants in South African communities and to foster their social acceptance.
  • Tunisia utilised a participatory process to revise its national migration strategy (SNM) in 2017. Led by the Ministry of Social Affairs, this involved different parts of government, the social partners (UGTT and UTICA), civil society, ILO, IOM and others. The revised strategy consists of five inter-related axes, the first of which is to strengthen the governance of migration management. The SNM recognizes the importance of inclusive and participatory dialogue involving all concerned stakeholders to ensure its effective implementation.
  • Tripartite workshops were held in Morocco on protecting the rights of migrant workers and improving the governance of labour migration by strengthening social dialogue.
  • National road maps/action plans were drafted on the strengthening of institutions and social partners in the area of labour migration in Tunisia, Morocco, as well as in Egypt.
  • Over the past few years, with the technical support of the ILO the following countries have organised national social partner consultations and platforms on migration, sometimes with government involvement in the formulation of labour migration policies: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, and Seychelles.
  • In collaboration with the IOM, the ILO has also provided technical inputs on labour migration policy development to the following countries: Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe.