PARTICIPANTS of the 6th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour recommended “concrete actions to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers” in ASEAN member states.

A press statement issued by the event secretariat said that the forum, which ended yesterday, is intended to provide an open platform for review, discussion and exchange of good practices and ideas between governments, workers’ and employers’ oraganisations, and civil society stakeholders on key issues facing migrant workers in Southeast Asia.

A copy of the final recommendations furnished the press shows that participants recommend labour migration data sharing and adequate complaint mechanisms and grievance handling mechanisms for migrant workers

Participants recommend the active collection of data on migrant workers, such as a regional and updated database on labour migration. They also called for data on remittances; information on recruitment channels; licensed agencies (and their fees and cost); data on salaries and benefits of migrant workers; data on the families of migrant workers in the countries of origin and destination; nature and incidence of complaints filed; and others.

They also recommended the promotion of effective complaint and grievance-handling mechanisms to allow family members to file a report or complaint on behalf of the migrant workers where appropriate.

Participants also stressed that complaint mechanisms should be gender-sensitive and responsive to the vulnerability of migrant workers.

The ASEAN participants called for the support of the development of a “one-stop service centre” for migrant workers that will facilitate access to complaint mechanisms and assistance, including interpretation and free legal counseling or referrals.

Ensuring and strengthening the roles of labour attaches, embassies and consular officials to include support services on availing complaint mechanisms for migrant workers was also part of the recommendations.

Participants also called for the development and strengthening of the existing complaint mechanisms for migrant workers in ASEAN countries that are “transparent, accessible and simplified during recruitment, employment, termination and deportation”.

The progress and challenges of implementation of these and previous recommendations will be shared by ASEAN member states at the 7th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour 2014.

“For this purpose, each ASEAN member state should make preparations with the involvement of tripartite partners and civil society for the information sharing prior to the forum,” said the final recommendations statement issued by the task force.

Acting Commissioner of the Labour Department, Haji Rani BPSK DSS Haji Mohd Yusof said that he was pleased for the opportunity to reflect on how participants share a common goal that can be pursued together under the ASEAN family.

“This forum represents a unique opportunity for every individual here, whether from the government, the workers, employers’ organisations as well as civil society stakeholders, to discuss and exchange good practices in your respective countries or organisations,” he said

The Brunei Times