Introducing ethical recruitment to private recruitment agency to ensure safe migration

@IOM 2023

IOM held an Ethical Recruitment Introductory Training for Private Recruitment Agencies Deploying Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMWs) in Indonesia-Malaysia corridor oil palm sector. The event, which took place in Tangerang from 16-17 May 2023, was funded with the support from Consumer Goods Forum – Human Rights Coalition.

The training aimed at increasing the capacity of Indonesia Private Recruitment Agencies (P3MI) that deploys migrant workers in the plantation sector under the Indonesia-Malaysia corridor to reduce the risk of labour exploitation against migrant workers, including the risk of trafficking in persons and forced labour in their business chains. This training was also designed to help P3MI identify patterns of ethical recruiters and align their business practices with International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) principles.

Rizki Inderawansyah, National Programme Officer of IOM Indonesia, emphasized that a well-managed migration process can benefit all: migrant workers, employers, recruiting agents, countries of origin, as well as countries of destination. “Ensuring the protection of workers' rights is not solely the responsibility of the government but also P3MI. The companies are managing the placement of 18,615 migrant workers. Thus, they have an important role in ensuring the protection of migrant workers and safe migration," he added.

The palm oil sector is a significant contributor to the national economics of Indonesia and Malaysia and a source of income for millions of people. Data from the Indonesian Migrant Worker Protection Agency (BP2MI) for the period of January-March 2023 showed that the placement of Indonesian

Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMWs) in Malaysia reached 24,656 people, where the majority were in the palm oil plantation sector.

Although IMWs are in high demand to work in palm oil plantations in Malaysia, several violations often occur in this sector, such as forced labour, child labour, withholding wages, and occupational health and safety issues. A Malaysian Government Survey in 2018 showed that 8 out of every 1,000 plantation workers, mostly migrant workers, are under forced labour conditions. Furthermore, the report revealed that 33,600 children aged 5-17 years work in plantations.

Despite these frequent violations, the Governments of Indonesia (GOI) and Malaysia have committed to providing protection and guaranteeing the rights of migrant workers and strengthening efforts to address labour issues in the plantation sector. In Indoneisa, protection for IMWs is regulated under the Law No. 18 of 2017 on the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, which aims to decentralize the process of placing migrant workers and improve a coordinated protection system. In addition, the GOI also established a one-roof service center for migrant workers (Layanan Terpadu Satu Atap) to provide support to the aspirant/migrant workers in preparing the needed administrative migration process, including accessing reliable information related to outmigration.

Meanwhile, Sri Andayani, Director of Non-Governmental Placement Asia-Africa Region of BP2MI, also stated that P3MI must ensure the protection of PMI. PMI placement in with a legal entity in destination country must go through business partners. P3MI that does not perform its obligations as stipulated in PP 59 of Year 2021 will be subject to administrative sanctions.

IOM in collaboration with the government, the private sector, and civil society organizations, has developed the IRIS standard, which aims to ensure the protection of the rights of migrant workers; increase transparency and accountability in the recruitment process; encourage the use of the "employer pays" principle; and strengthening public policies, regulations and enforcement mechanisms.

IOM Indonesia, under the "Mitigating Forced Labor Risks, Promoting Responsible Recruitment and Fair Employment Practices" programme also provided support to the Consumer Goods Forum – Human Rights Coalition (CGF-HRC) to eradicate forced labour practices in supply chains, promote ethical recruitment, and assist the plantation sector in Malaysia in detecting exploitative labour practices in the supply chains of CGF-HRC member companies.

SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth