Policy area

Tackling fraud and abuse

This area of the assessment looks at the measures that governments have in place to address arguably the two core issues at the heart of “unethical” recruitment: the charging of fees to migrant workers for recruitment services, and deception with regard to terms and conditions in the destination country. It examines laws on recruitment fees and contract substitution, and how these laws are implemented and enforced. As a result there is significant cross-over with other areas of the assessment, in particular areas 2 and 5.

Fraud and abuse

    Prohibition on fees (6.1)

    The ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines on Fair Recruitment (ILO GPOG) are categorical in their assertion that “no recruitment fees or related costs should be charged to, or otherwise borne by, workers or jobseekers."

    This indicator examines whether governments fully and explicitly prohibit the payment of recruitment fees and related costs for all workers (using the ILO’s adopted definitions), whether their legislation covers payments made outside their jurisdiction, and how the laws enforcing this prohibition are implemented.

    It also examines how much workers pay in practice to migrate, who profits, and the loopholes that recruiters and employers use to get around fee prohibitions or recruitment fee caps.

    Transparency on recruitment costs (6.2)

    ILO GPOG Guidance 6.2 recommends that “the full extent and nature of costs, for instance costs paid by employers to labour recruiters, should be transparent to those who pay them”. This is intended to ensure employers and others are fully aware of what they are actually paying for, to prevent recruitment costs from being passed on to migrant workers, and to assist investigations of regulatory and enforcement agencies.

    This indicator looks at the extent to which recruiters are required to provide transparency in relation to the cost of recruitment.

    Contracts (6.3)

    ILO GPOG Guidance 7.1 sets out a range of measures designed to ensure that workers receive employment contracts in their own language, in good time, containing all relevant terms and conditions.

    This indicator examines what the law requires on worker contracts, and the degree to which these provisions are respected and enforced.

    Contract substitution (6.4)

    Principle 8 of the ILO GPOG calls on states to implement “measures to prevent contract substitution”, the practice of replacing a contract that has been agreed upon with an alternative contract, either shortly before migration or on arrival in the destination country.

    This indicator examines whether states have specific processes to try to address contract substitution and related practices, and how common it is for workers to find that their terms and conditions of work are substantially different from those promised in the origin state.

    Verbal contracts (6.5)

    Some workers who are recruited for work abroad never receive a written contract. This places them at additional risk of abuse, and typically reduces their ability to access whatever remedies are available to them.

    It is in this context that ILO GPOG Guidance 7.2 establishes that, "in the absence of a written contract, governments have the responsibility to ensure that recruited workers have all their rights respected in line with existing legislation and regulations."

    This indicator looks at the provisions that are in place to provide workers who do not receive written contracts with protection.