Alliance calls for regulation of recruitment agencies to protect migrants

3 September 2013

The call, in a position paper submitted to the UN in advance of the high level meeting on migration next month, is one of the outcomes from the Anglican Alliance east and south east Asia forum held in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.

Anglicans involved in development, relief and advocacy across the region agreed at the forum a five point plan for advocacy to support migrants to focus on:

  • Recruitment – recognising that this was where exploitation of migrants often started, with recruitment agencies that lured people with the prospects of a better life and then trapped them in conditions of bonded labour.
  • Pay – to ensure that migrants are protected by national minimum wage and employment legislation.
  • Abuse – with safeguards for migrants and an end to the impunity that sees migrants unable to get redress for physical or sexual abuse by employers.
  • Status – migrants to have rights to hold their passports and visas, and to have more advice about their immigration rights.
  • Access to services  – for migrants to be on the same basis as those of resident workers.

In agreeing to support regional and global advocacy, the forum drew from the experience of the ministry to migrants and domestic workers at St Johns Cathedral in Hong Kong, and also from the work of the Anglican network.

The position paper has gone to the UN in advance of the second high level dialogue on migrants to be held in New York in October. It sets out the challenges facing the world’s 214 million migrants – who together constitute the equivalent of the fifth most populous nation in the world. It argues that while migration is part of the globalised economy, producing $440 billion a year in remittances for migrants’ home countries, for many migration ends in exploitation. While international conventions and protocols exist to reduce the risks, these are unevenly and poorly enforced.

In setting out the five point package, the Alliance also argues that migration should should be integrated into the post 2015 development goals. 

In the picture: At the Alliance Forum in Kuala Lumpur which drew up the five point advocacy plan, from left Ms Elijah Fung from Hong Kong, Bishop Moon Hing from the Diocese of West Malaysia which hosted the event,  Revd John Deane, from the Anglican Board of Mission and Bishop Shantah Francis from the Church of Ceylon.