The new dynamics of migration are closely linked to the search of new opportunities of employment and income generation.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that around 27 per cent of all migrant workers worldwide are in the Americas, and 4.3 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, a figure that is continuously increasing. Only between 2010 and 2015, the number of migrant workers in the region increased by 34 per cent.
This mobility is motivated by the search of better opportunities of employment and the desire of improving the quality of life of migrants, which interacts with other structural factors as poverty and lack of security, which are also drivers of migration.
The increase in the flow of migrant workers has considerable challenges in a labor market marked by unemployment and informality. According to data of ILO, unemployment affects 26 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean and at least 133 million people are impacted by informality, particularly women, youth and low-skilled workers with low educational attainment.
Against this backdrop, the 19th American Regional Meeting of ILO, and its report “Preparing the future of work we want in the Americas through social dialogue”, offers 10 recommendations to improve the protection of labor rights in migrant population and to promote migrant participation in the discussion and consideration to achieve the overall goal of decent work for all:
- Approach labor migration from a perspective of human rights, aligned with the principles of social justice and decent work.
- Address the gaps and fragmentation of migration governance in the regional integration agreements.
- Strengthen the labor rights approach in migration governance institutions.
- Promote the participation of labor issues key stakeholders in the regional consultation processes on migration.
- Integrate social dialogue about migration in the different processes of regional integration.
- Include Labor Ministries in the work of intergovernmental commission about migration.
- Promote measures to align migration and employment policies.
- Improve the capacities of institutions linked to the labor market to address issues of labor migration.
- Increase the participation of migrant workers in unions and associations to ensure their voice is included in processes of social dialogue.
- Improve knowledge and information about labor migration through the creation of information systems and statistical records.
Regarding these recommendations, Michela Macchiavello, IOM Regional Thematic Specialist for Labor Migration, underscored the growing importance of articulation with regional consultation processes on migration and the establishment of partnerships. In the Americas, the Regional Conference on Migration (CRM), for North and Central American countries, and the South American Conference on Migration, for South American countries; and most recently, the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC) are particularly relevant to the discussion, as they focus more and more on labor migration issues.
“IOM believes that a comprehensive governmental approach and the creation of partnerships that include agencies related to migration, civil society, the private sector, workers, migrant representatives and international are a priority for the effective and humane advancement of national and regional policies, including labor migration policies and programs that promote a regular, orderly and secure migration, while they provide protection to migrants and workers who are more vulnerable”.
Without a doubt, migration and labor mobility are and will continue to be of increasing importance for the world of work and, therefore, will require the attention and collaborative action of governments and other relevant stakeholders.