The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat, conducted a two-day multi-stakeholder meeting on the possible creation of a Labor Migration Information Portal (LMIP) for the ASEAN Member States. The meeting was held on 21-22 February 2019 in Bangkok Thailand.
Building on the premise that there is a need for a consolidated up-to-date and comprehensive regional migration information, the proposed LMIP is envisioned to be a “one-stop shop” for migrant workers, employers, and governments for data on migration opportunities, services such as recruitment agencies, statistics, policies concerning intra-ASEAN migration, and various legal instruments and processes.
With the exception of Singapore, foreign affairs, immigration, and labor officials from the ASEAN member states attended the meeting and shared their perspectives on the contents that would be beneficial for ASEAN migrant workers which are predominantly composed of unskilled labor, as well as for governments which are mandated to enact evidence-based legislations that would facilitate easier labor migration. The ASEAN officials also brought into attention the possible challenges that the LMIP will face upon implementation such as technological illiteracy on the part of the migrant workers, and sustainability in terms of keeping the information up-to-date and timely.
Also in attendance is Ms. Mega Irena, Assistant Director of the Labor and Civil Service Division, Human Development Directorate, of the ASEAN Secretariat. Director Mega mentioned that the ASEAN Secretariat is already in the process of creating a labor market information system for the region which would have similar contents as the proposed LMIP. She also mentioned that the ASEAN Secretariat is willing to harmonize efforts with the IOM on the creation of an online portal for regional labor market and migration information.
In addition to government representatives, various civil society organizations, recruitment agencies, and trade unions were also in attendance, and were also asked to provide inputs to the planned LMIP. The ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) raised that the portal has the potential of becoming an educational tool for employers on compliance and ethical recruitment. ACE recognizes the role of employers in preventing forced labor and human trafficking through fair recruitment practices and the LMIP can help empower employers in this regard. In addition to the contents pertaining to regional data on jobs, skills, and labor market trends, the platform could also include avenues for consultation and training for employers on migrant workers’ rights, as well as regional and international standards on ethical recruitment.
Ms. Daniella Reyes of the ECOP Secretariat represented ACE in the meeting. ECOP currently acts as Secretariat for the ACE.