IOM is participating in a conference on labour migration organized by the state government of Telangana through the Telangana Overseas Manpower Company Ltd (TOMCOM) in India.
IOM is providing technical expertise for the conference, which is primarily focusing on identifying avenues for enhanced cooperation between stakeholders and creating awareness of regular channels of labour migration from Telangana state.
The two-day conference, which began this morning (16/8) in Hyderabad, is being attended by 150 participants including state Ministers of Telangana, senior officials and decision makers, UN agencies, employers, researchers and labour and migration experts from the Gulf States, the Philippines, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The conference seeks to promote engagement of all stakeholders in constructive exchanges on a range of issues relating to enhanced cooperation between the Telangana government and stakeholders in the area of facilitated regular labour migration.
Participants will also discuss a sustainable strategy for safe and orderly migration, in line with target 10.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
IOM Chief of Staff Ovais Sarmad told the conference that migrant workers contribute to the socio-economic development of countries of destination and origin, but only when their well-being is promoted and their welfare is prioritised.
“Failure to respect the rights of migrant workers has a negative impact on workers and their families – as well as on the labour markets of countries of destination. Ultimately this does not make business sense. One of the greatest costs of migration is the malpractice of unethical migrant recruitment agencies – including the extortion of large fees – to which both migrants and businesses fall victim,” he said.
“This is why IOM and the International Organisation of Employers are developing the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a voluntary multi-stakeholder certification system which will enable employers and brands to make better-informed decisions about the procurement of recruitment services,” he added.
Sarmad commended India for its Community Welfare Fund, which provides urgent assistance for distressed overseas Indian workers, legal aid and other benefits.
“India has pioneered mandatory insurance schemes that provide emergency medical assistance and its network of labour attaches play a prominent role, not only in providing assistance to migrant workers, but also in helping to set migration policy. I am pleased to say that IOM has worked closely with the Indian authorities in establishing Migrant Resource Centres throughout India,” he said.
In his remarks, Sarmad also reminded the conference that the first ever UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants will be held in New York on 19 September and that there was every hope that international leaders will agree on the development of a comprehensive global Compact on Migration.
“IOM is actively engaged in the deliberations of the Summit and I encourage all of you to follow the outcomes. In this regard, let me also refer you to IOM’s recently approved Migration Governance Framework (MIGOF). This is a “best practice tool” for states and governments to adapt and use in their regional or national migration management policies,” he noted.
The conference was born from the Telangana state government’s need to eliminate unauthorised and unscrupulous private placement agencies, identify overseas employment opportunities, assist potential migrants by coordinating logistics, organise occupational competency certificates of international standards, and enhance the employability of Indian nationals seeking employment abroad.
The state of Telangana is a major contributor to Indian emigration. The state, which has a population of about 35.2 million, with more than 60 percent of its population living in rural areas, every year witnesses a large number of people migrating abroad in search of better job opportunities. Most of these migrants, who are primarily unskilled and semi-skilled, are employed in the informal sector, which leaves them with little or no job security abroad.