Assessment of Women Migrant Workers in South Asia on the Implementation of Standard Terms of Employment

IOM, in coordination with UN Women, and with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) carried out a study “Assessment of Women Migrant Workers in South Asia on the Implementation of Standard Terms of Employment” in 2016/17. The study focused on migration from South Asian countries to the Middle East, which has been booming since oil-generated wealth started growing in the region in the 1970s. At present, India is the largest sending country (at 747,000 workers), followed by Pakistan (623,000 workers), Nepal (454,000 workers), Bangladesh (409,000 workers) and Sri Lanka (282,000 workers). But with this increase have come associated vulnerabilities, exploitation and abuse of migrant workers, particularly women.  The study found that there is gap between the Standard Terms of Employment template (STOE) and the employment contracts that are used for female labour migrants from South Asia. “The guiding gender-responsive templates” are available, and in some cases referenced in national legislation or bilateral labour agreements, but the templates are often not applied effectively.