Ethical Recruitment Can Protect Rights of Nepali Migrant Workers


Kathmandu – Nepali government officials, private sector stakeholders and civil society representatives meeting in Kathmandu today acknowledged that ethical recruitment practices can play a key role in protecting migrant workers’ rights and reducing the risk of people becoming victims of forced labour or modern slavery.
Stakeholders taking part in a national consultation organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognized that migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation at the recruitment and deployment phases of the migration cycle, when unscrupulous recruitment agencies and unauthorized agents can charge excessive fees, provide misleading information about jobs, and retain workers’ identity documents.
“There is now a growing recognition of ethical recruitment being a vital part of robust migration governance. IOM is working collaboratively with the private sector, civil society, governments and the international community to make recruitment a fairer process for workers, recruiters and employers,” said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Lorena Lando.
“Migrant workers fill critical labour shortages. Employers and the governments of sending and receiving countries should therefore share responsibility for their protection throughout the migration cycle,” she added.
IOM advocates for ethical labour recruitment practices through initiatives such as the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) standard and Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST).
Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security Joint Secretary Umesh Dhungana said that migration is rarely “a choice” for Nepali migrants, due to the lack of employment opportunities at home. The government is therefore committed to work with civil society, the private sector and the international community to promote ethical recruitment, he noted.
“Nepal is in the process of revising bilateral agreements with destination countries in order to implement the ‘employers pay’ principle and minimize the burden on migrant workers,” he added.
Labour migration for employment overseas plays a vital role in socio-economic development and poverty reduction in Nepal and is a major source of jobs for young people. On average and estimated 800 Nepalis leave the country through formal channels to work abroad every day.
The national consultation was supported by the IOM Development Fund. Participants included government officials, private recruitment agencies, civil society organizations, academia, research institutes, trade unions and media.
For more information please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Nepal, Tel: +97714426250 (Ext. 194), Email: