Do Bilateral Agreement on Manpower Recruitment

Global migration experts have favoured for signing bilateral agreements on manpower recruitment between countries of origins and destinations considering its positive impact on the protection of workers’ rights.

Speaking at the Global Forum on Migration and Development summit held in Marrakesh of Morocco on December 4-7, 2018, they said that the promotion of bilateral agreements could play an important role in ensuring ‘fair and ethical recruitment’, ‘labour rights’ and ‘decent work’ of the migrant workers.

Migrant Forum in Asia regional coordinator William Gois who moderated a thematic session on actions ensuring decent works, labour rights, fair recruitment for migrant workers said that the bilateral agreements could make both countries of origins and destinations responsible for the migrant workers.

He cited a good example of bilateral labour agreement on health workers between Germany and Philippines for its features of ethical recruitment and cooperation on human resource development projects for mutual benefits.

Though Bangladeshi workers migrate to at least 165 countries for jobs, Bangladesh has bilateral agreements regarding manpower recruitment in place with only Kuwait and Qatar, according to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.

And memorandums of understanding for sending workers are in place with Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, South Korea, Oman, Libya, Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Maldives and Kampuchea.

Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training records show that over 1.20 crore Bangladeshi workers have migrated to work abroad since 1976.

According to the International Labour Organization, bilateral agreements provide effective collaboration mechanism between countries of origin and destination for migration of workers under agreed principles and procedures.

The ILO advises countries of origin and destination to make bilateral agreements to serve the interests of both the sides, and particularly to protect the interests of migrant workers.

The ILO is of the view that non-binding MoUs are preferred by destination countries as they are easy to negotiate, implement and modify to suit changing economic and labour market conditions.

South Asian Regional Trade Union Council general secretary Laxman Basnet told New Age that the bilateral agreements should be promoted in manpower recruitment to benefit the migrant workers as they were often victims of exploitations at different stages of migration.

‘Legally binding bilateral agreements can protect migrants,’ he said, adding that Nepal government has recently signed an agreement with Malaysia to send its workers under protections. 

The representatives of civil Society organizations and the government delegates from UN member states were taking part in the 11th Global Migration and Development summit, jointly organized by the government of the Kingdom of Morocco and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany as 2017-2018 Co-Chairs.

Philippines based Public Services Labour Independent Confederation chief of staff Jillian Roque told this correspondent that the Germany-Philippines bilateral agreements has been an example of emerging good practice when carrying out international recruitment of health workers through government-to-government bilateral agreement.

‘The bilateral labour agreement pioneer the recognition and participation of trade unions, in implementing and monitoring the bilateral agreement through the Triple Win Project,’ she said.

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