Advances in Ethical Recruitment made at IOM-Organized Conference in Bangkok

Themes: Labour Migration

Thailand - A call for ethical labor recruitment standards to be upheld across Asia has been made at a major industry conference held this week in Bangkok, Thailand.

Speaking at the regional conference of the Alliance of Asian Associations of Overseas Employment Service Providers (OESPAAA), Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific noted: “When agencies function in accordance with internationally accepted standards of ethical recruitment, their services provide enormous benefits to migrants and their communities, to employers and to economies in both sending and receiving countries.”

The attendees, mainly recruitment industry leaders of labor-sending countries in Asia, reaffirmed their commitment to ethical recruitment through the adoption of the “OESPAAA Operating Modality and a Programme of Action for 2016-2017”. 

The Conference was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through IOM’s regional project on strengthening labour migration governance through regional cooperation in Colombo Process countries.*

In the Chairman’s Report Estrelia Hizon, the current OESPAAA Chair, acknowledged the tangible actions taken by the members in pursuing ethical recruitment. However, the report also drew the members’ attention to the continuing challenges in their collective pursuit.

Through the discussions, members agreed to work towards a more structured membership organization and finalized and signed its Operating Modality. They also drew up a programme of action for the next two years by identifying three concrete outcomes:

  • A stronger collective voice in policy at national and international level;
  • Increased capacity for self-regulation and self-policing;
  • Decent overseas employment as well as improved welfare and safety of migrants

The OESPAAA members also unanimously endorsed the Chairmanship handover from the current Chair, the Philippines, to Bangladesh during the course of 2016.

Laurent de Boeck, IOM’s Head of Labour Mobility and Human Development Division at IOM Headquarters, emphasized the need to work at national, regional and global levels to advance the fight against unethical recruitment practices, saying, “The current landscape of ethical recruitment can be compared to that of the pioneering work in counter-trafficking in the 1990s.”

*The Colombo Process is a Regional Consultative Process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour for countries of origins in Asia. 

For further information, please contact Giuseppe Crocetti, IOM Sri Lanka. Tel: +94-773171077; Email:​