Created in partnership with the Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights

Migrant Workers

International migrant workers comprise almost 5% of the global workforce but remain especially vulnerable to low wages, unsafe working conditions, discrimination and trafficking.

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Further Guidance

Examples of further guidance on migrant workers include:

  • ILO, The Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration: Non-binding principles and guidelines for a rights-based approach to labour migration, which aim to assist Governments, social partners and stakeholders in their efforts to regulate labour migration and protect migrant workers.
  • ILO, Fair Migration Agenda: The ILO campaign to ensure fair migration and labour conditions for migrants has a range of information, tools and publications.
  • ILO, Global Study on Recruitment Fees and Related Costs: A global study that examines the laws and policies of 90 countries, as well as numerous bilateral labour agreements and multi-stakeholder initiatives to regulate or prohibit recruitment fees and costs charged to workers.
  • ILO, General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment and Definition of Recruitment Fees and Related Costs: These guidelines provide definitions and explanations of key terms related to recruitment fees.
  • ILO, How to Facilitate the Recognition of Skills of Migrant Workers: This guide for employers and employment service providers gives information on identifying the needs and capabilities of migrant workers and how to accommodate them in the workplace, particularly in recruitment.
  • ILO, Ending Child Labour, Forced Labour And Human Trafficking In Global Supply Chains: This report aims to help businesses develop policies and practices to protect global supply chains from certain human rights issues, including abuses against migrant workers.
  • ILO-IOM, Promoting Fair and Ethical Recruitment in a Digital World: Lessons and Policy Options: This joint ILO-IOM report maps four examples of existing State-facilitated digital technology platforms that assist the recruitment, placement and/or job matching for migrant workers.
  • ILO, For Women, by Women: Guidance and Activities for Building Women Migrant Workers’ Networks: This guidance outlines how migrant women’s groups can be catalyzed and supported.
  • OHCHR and CMW, General Comments No. 1 – 5: The general comments offered by the CMW provide insight into the human rights violations migrant workers face, detailing expert opinion on specific themes and legal obligations of State parties to the instruments that define these rights. General Comment No. 5 specifically details migrants’ rights to liberty, freedom from arbitrary detention and their connection with other human rights, with a contextual focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • IOM, Ending Child Labour, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains: This guidance highlights the challenges faced by migrant workers and how business can work with Government to prevent migrant labour abuse.
  • OHCHR, ‘We wanted workers, but human beings came’: Human rights and temporary labour migration programmes: This report looks at the consequences of temporary labour migration programmes (TLMPs) on migrant workers and their families, and offers recommendations on how to design and implement comprehensive labour migration pathways that offer human rights-based alternatives to TLMPs.
  • Fair Labor Association, Triple Discrimination: Woman, Pregnant and Migrant, Preventing Pregnancy Discrimination among Temporary Migrant Workers, Lessons for Malaysia, Taiwan and ThailandGuidance for employers to avoid multi-factored discrimination against migrant women in supply chains.
  • SME Compass, Standards Compass: This online tool offers guidance on what to pay attention to when selecting sustainability standards or when participating in multi-stakeholder initiatives. It allows comparing standards and initiatives with respect to their contribution to human rights due diligence and their potential limitations.
  • SME Compass, Due Diligence Compass: This online tool offers guidance on the overall human rights due diligence process by taking businesses through five key due diligence phases.
  • SME Compass, Downloads: Practical guides and checklists are available for download on the SME compass website to embed due diligence processes, improve supply chain management and make mechanisms more effective.
  • ILO Helpdesk for Business, Country Information Hub: This resource can be used to inform human rights due diligence, providing specific country information on different labour rights.