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The centrepiece of this Action Plan is the ILO’s Multilateral Framework on Labour

Migration, subtitled Non-binding principles and guidelines for a rightsbased
approach to labour migration, adopted by a tripartite meeting of experts in 2005
and endorsed by the Governing Body in 2006. The ILO Multilateral Framework
addresses the major issues faced by migration policy-makers at national and
international levels and responds to demands from constituents for guidance and
assistance. It is a comprehensive collection of principles, guidelines and best
practices on labour migration policy which provides practical guidance on the
development and improvement of labour migration policies. The ILO Multilateral
Framework focuses on decent work for all, good governance of labour migration,
migrant workers’ rights, development linkages and international cooperation, while
respecting the sovereign right of all nations to determine their own migration
policies. It recognizes the crucial role of social partners, social dialogue and
tripartism in migration policy and advocates gender-sensitive policies that address
the special problems faced by female migrant workers. ILO perspectives and
approaches on labour migration broadly converge with other recent global
initiatives, including the report of the GCIM, the report of the UN Secretary-General
on International Migration and Development, the outcomes of the UN High-level
Dialogue on International Migration and Development, the conclusions of the GFMD
(2007 and 2008), and the International Agenda for Migration Management of the
Berne Initiative. All recognize the need to promote multilateral approaches and
international cooperation, to expand legal opportunities for migration (especially for
low-skilled workers), to protect migrant rights, to develop gender-sensitive
migration policies, and to create decent work opportunities in home countries to
reduce migration pressures. The origin of this book was the background report
prepared by the International Labour Office for the General Discussion on Migrant
Workers at the 92nd Session of the ILC in June 2004. That report highlighted the
need for a rights-based approach to labour migration, recognizing that the key to
the effective protection of migrants’ rights lies in effective governance and
regulation of migration. This rights-based approach to labour migration was also
central to the resolution on a fair deal for migrant workers adopted by the 2004
session of Introduction 8 the ILC. The human and labour rights of migrant workers
are contained in a number of international instruments, developed by both the UN
and the ILO. A rights-based approach to labour migration is one that draws on these
internationally recognized rights and standards and ensures that they have a
tangible impact on the lives of migrant workers. All major sectors of the
ILO – standards, employment, social protection and social dialogue – work on labour
migration within the ILO’s overarching framework of “decent work for all”. One of
the four strategic objectives of the ILO is to promote and realize standards and
fundamental principles and rights at work. In order effectively to promote a rightsbased approach to labour migration, the ILO must go beyond the solemn declaration
of rights. It must work to ensure that these rights are protected by the legislation,
policies and practices of member States. The development of the ILO Multilateral
Framework was a major step by the ILO in giving practical meaning and effect to the

Chapters 5 and 6 provide policy orientation for governing migration at the national and international levels and achieving greater coherence and cooperation on migration matters. the portability of their social security benefits. However. and smuggled or trafficked persons.rights of migrant workers. migrants in irregular status. and promoting migration by choice rather than by need. . migrants’ associations. paying particular attention to vulnerable groups such as women domestic workers. The longer-term agenda of forging an international consensus on a rights-based approach through social dialogue. The discussion seeks to draw the attention of policy-makers and planners. confirm the need for a rightsbased approach. These chapters. Chapter 4 discusses how workers’ rights can be protected and promoted by international standards. The second part of the book accordingly sets out and discusses in detail the relevant international instruments and explores how these standards can be used in the formulation and implementation of migration policies and practices. is central to the ILO’s constitutional mandate for the protection of migrant workers. and makes suggestions as to the way forward for the ILO and other stakeholders involved in the migration process. significance and impact will be highlighted throughout this book. Chapter 7 draws upon the conclusions of the thematic discussions in the preceding chapters in the light of the ILO’s rights-based approach. the recognition of migrant workers’ skills. the research community and the media to the issues involved in implementing a rightsbased approach. Its contents. economy and the labour market in countries of origin and destination. and the impact of international migration on society. and reviewing enforcement of relevant legislation and regulations. The ILO’s supervisory mechanism assists member States in implementing the rights-based approach to labour migration by assessing whether national laws and practices are consistent with the provisions of ratified Conventions. the control of recruitment processes. Chapter 2 analyses in greater depth the linkages between migration and development. social partners. The promotion of a rights-based approach to labour migration is a common thread running through each of the following chapters. which consider contemporary issues in labour migration and reveal the vulnerability of a number of migrant workers to exploitation. particularly those developed by the ILO. abuse and rights violations. protection against occupational hazards. shedding light on these issues and discussing them only goes halfway towards putting the rights-based approach into practice. to ensure the effective promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers. civil society groups. Chapter 1 reviews the main trends in current and expected future migration flows. Chapter 3 examines the working conditions of migrant workers in various sectors and occupations. Important policy areas for the ILO’s tripartite constituents include the Introduction 9 regulation of labour migration flows. the improvement of conditions of work and the reinforcement of linkages between migration and development. The ILO works closely with social partners and encourages their participation in policy formulation.