Facilitating Legal Labour Migration Between Asia and the European Union

This regional labour migration programme aims to facilitate and enhance the management of labour migration between South and Southeast Asia and selected countries in the European Union (EU). It will achieve this by:

  • Working with government and private institutions to improve the countries’ enhance national capacity and establish links among countries at various levels to better facilitate labour migration; and
  • Ensuring that potential migrants make informed choices by disseminating information about legal labour migration opportunities and procedures, and the dangers of irregular migration.
"The vision of the Colombo Process dialogue is turning into a reality through the project. The regional dialogues and studies are contributing to key policy reforms. The Alliance of Asian Associations of Overseas Employment Service Providers has been formed to promote ethical practices in recruitment. Prospective migrants are getting better aware of safe migration."
-- Asif Munier, Project Manager, IOM Bangladesh

Key Objectives

  • The IOM programme was launched 2006 with financial support from the European Union.  Its key objectives include:
  • Supporting regional cooperation among major Asian labour-sending countries and with the European Union in promoting legal labour opportunities and reducing irregular migration.
  • Developing the skills, knowledge, structures and resources of the government and private sector to place workers legally in European Union countries based on demand.
  • Informing potential migrants about opportunities and procedures on working legally in European Union countries, and the risks of resorting to irregular migration.

Beneficiaries

  • Ministries responsible for foreign employment in countries of origin
  • Ministries responsible for labour migration in at least five EU member States (the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Ireland and Spain)
  • Migrant workers and would-be labour migrants from the Asian countries of origin
  • Representatives of mostly private recruitment agencies from the Asian countries of origin
  • Employers and manpower agencies in the five destination countries
  • Migrant-sending areas and groups of people vulnerable to irregular migration in India, the Philippines and Bangladesh
  • Non-governmental organizations

Concrete Benefits

  • The target Ministries in the Asian countries of origin will be able to better assess and respond to foreign labour needs in the EU. They will have trained personnel on market research, marketing and legal avenues and procedures on labour migration to the EU.
  • In India and the Philippines, the Ministries will have updated skills to assist in planning human resource development in the country.
  • All the Ministries will benefit from enhanced dialogue and cooperation among themselves and with the major EU labour receiving states on developing legal migration and reducing irregular migration.
  • Ministries responsible for labour migration in at least five EU member States (UK, Italy, Germany, Ireland and Spain) and the EC will benefit from consultations, exchange of information and follow-up actions on the enhanced management of labour migration, including reducing irregular migration.
  • The recruitment sector in the ten Asian countries will have enhanced skills, knowledge, structures and resources to place workers legally in Europe and have better understanding of ethical recruitment.
  • Fifty representatives of recruitment agencies, including the industry associations, from the ten Asian countries will receive training and networking opportunities.
  • Ten recruitment agencies in India and the Philippines initially will avail of existing labour migration schemes in the EU.
  • Three hundred migrant workers from India and the Philippines will benefit from job placements.
  • Migrant workers leaving for EU member states in all ten countries will receive pre-departure orientation.
  • Employers and manpower agencies in the five destination countries will benefit from the selection and placement of the initial group of workers and with networking with recruitment agencies in the countries of origin.
  • NGOs will benefit from training and skills building as migrant resource centres.
  • Migrant-sending areas and will have an accurate picture of what constitutes safe migration and the risks of resorting to irregular migration.

Principal IOM Activities

  • Conduct specialized training programmes for government partners and private recruitment agencies on a range of issues including market research, labour migration opportunities and procedures, job placement and ethical recruitment.
  • Set up or develop labour market research units to gather and share info on projected manpower requirements in labour receiving countries in order to meet demand with matching skills.
  • Establish networks among stakeholders like market research units and recruitment agencies  via an interactive website.
  • Carry out research to update manpower profiles and review skills profiles in relation to foreign employment demand, and enhance the quality of education and certification processes.
  • Put in place pilot initiatives to place migrants from Asian countries in EU countries.
  • Organize a Ministerial Consultation on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour. Recommendations made here will form a programme of action for follow up.
  • Establish Migrant Resource Centres in selected countries.
  • Design a multimedia public info campaign to raise awareness among would-be migrants on irregular migration and recruitment-related abuses, as well as information on legal migration opportunities.
  • Develop a module on pre-departure training for migrants bound for main EU destination countries.