Fostering fair working conditions and combating discrimination and exploitation vs migrant workers (particularly women migrant workers)

While for many migrant workers, labour migration can be a very positive experience, for millions of them, decent work continues to be a hard-to-reach goal, especially for low-skilled workers, those that find themselves in an irregular situation, those working in the informal economy and those who face difficult working conditions (low wages, excessive working hours, lack of social security coverage, lack of occupational safety and health protection) as well as lack of opportunities to immigration regularization. Migrants’ contribution to development and economic growth depend on their job and working conditions. However, large numbers of them confront situations including withholding of wages, illegal deduction of fees, insufficient daily, weekly and holidays’ rest periods, no payment of overtime and annual leave, withholding of passports and other identity documents, unjustified demands to carry out tasks other than those specified in the contract (such as cleaning other family members’ houses) and unjustified terminations.

Often, even those in a regular migration situation may find themselves unprotected in labour markets without the recognition of the right to equal treatment and opportunities with regard to national workers, and often with difficulties in guaranteeing their fundamental rights at work.

The ILO is very active in engaging advocacy and capacity-building activities on the promotion of labour and social protection (particularly improvement of working time and wages, and safety and health protection) of migrant workers and their family members. Some of the most important areas of work include capacity-building of labour inspectors and enhancing awareness on the importance of labour attachés abroad and on facilitating access to justice to migrant workers in countries of destination.