Reflections from the 2018 Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment: Progress and Goals
August 13th, 2018
By David Schilling, Senior ICCR Program Director
At the first Global Forum a year ago in Berlin, the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment (LGRR) made the decision to focus on two countries—Malaysia and Thailand (and the respective recruitment corridors) to take steps to transform the foreign migrant recruitment system from ‘worker pays’ to ‘employer pays’. This was a significant decision to change the recruitment model through collective action in one region of the world. There was evidence at the 2018 Forum in Singapore that this was a good decision and that some progress is being made.
The forum’s first panel on the “Experience of the Migrant Worker” made it clear that if we are to make the shift from ‘workers pays’ to ‘employer pays’, migrant workers must be at the centre of the change. Anne Beatrice Jacobs, North South Initiative, and Bhim Kumar Newar, Migrant Worker Network, highlighted the exploitative impact of worker paid fees and described the challenges to transforming the current system. Representatives from Migrant Forum Asia (MFA), a regional network of non-government organisations, associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and a trusted partner, contributed a great deal to our understanding of on-the-ground realities facing migrant workers in specific countries in the region.