To acquire a much-needed job abroad, foreign migrant workers often must pay illegal or unethical recruitment fees, which can be as high as USD 6,000 in some migration corridors. The loans taken out to pay these fees can result in debts borne by workers over the course of their employment term, and significantly increase their vulnerability to debt bondage, a root cause of forced labor globally.
A growing number of multinational corporations and their suppliers have begun to adopt “Employer Pays” recruitment policies. When enforced, these policies help to ensure that employers in supply chains absorb the true cost of recruitment and prohibit the charging of recruitment costs to workers, in accordance with international standards and regulations.
Measures like contractually enforceable obligations, surety bonds, and insurance schemes which hold parties accountable for violations of international, national, and corporate policies are common in many business sectors where they are used to mitigate risks introduced by third parties in a commercial venture. Indeed, some of these mechanisms are currently used in cross-border labor migration to address specific aspects of the responsibilities of and relationships between parties.
Commissioned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the purpose of this paper
is to identify, map, and assess the impact and potential application of contract clauses, ethical recruitment bonds, and insurance policies for promoting sustained compliance with key migrant worker standards, while simultaneously mitigating financial risk to employers.
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