Policy area

Grievance and remedy

When abuses occur, both origin and destination states should provide effective grievance mechanisms for migrant workers. Governments provide grievances mechanisms and remedies in a range of ways including support from origin state consulates, labour ministry hotlines, mediation processes, and civil courts specialising in labour and recruitment cases. This is an analysis of the degree to which these mechanisms meet well-established international standards on grievance mechanisms and the right to remedy.

Grievance and remedy

    Comprehensive access (7.1)

    This indicator examines the scope of access to the grievance mechanisms that are available. In some contexts, a workers’ access to grievance mechanisms depends on the sector in which they work. In some countries, for example, domestic workers cannot access any formal channels to raise grievances, other than the police. Undocumented workers are often excluded from making complaints altogether.

    This indicator examines the extent to which workers’ access to grievance mechanisms is in line with ILO Guiding Principle and Operational Guidelines (ILO GPOG) Guideline 8, which states that they should be able to avail of such mechanisms “irrespective of their presence or legal status in the State”.

    Accessibility (7.2)

    This indicator examine whether grievance mechanisms and processes are accessible to workers in practice, and whether they are rapid and free of complex administrative procedures, in line with ILO GPOG Guideline 8.1.

    Remedy and compensation (7.3)

    Workers subjected to abuse through their migration cycle should have access to effective remedies, which may include, but not necessarily be limited to, compensation, as per ILO GPOG Guideline 8.1. Some destination states offer a change of employer as the default means of addressing grievances. Holding abusers to account through criminal prosecution may also represent remedy in some cases.

    This indicator examines the government’s provision of remedy, with a particular focus on compensation.

    Protection from retaliation (7.4)

    Under ILO GPOG Guideline 8.1, workers raising grievances should be protected from retaliation, in particular from employers and recruiters.

    This indicator evaluates how safe workers feel bringing complaints forward, and assesses the effectiveness of the measures in place, if any, to protect them from retaliation.

    Legal advice (7.5)

    The provision of free independent legal advice can make a significant difference to workers’ ability to navigate the different potential options available to them, and bring complaints forward successfully.

    This indicator looks at the legal advice that is available to workers.

    Consular support (7.6)

    This indicator examines whether the origin state provides effective and timely consular support to its nationals abroad who have been subjected to fraudulent or abusive recruitment.