Perspectives on Migration Governance is a series of research papers aimed at informing critical debates on migration governance with a bold vision around a future of work in global labor markets that promotes gender equity, labor rights, and democracy for migrant workers.

Migrant Rights at the International Organization for Migration (IOM):
The Case for a Human Rights Mandate

In context of migration and global governance, the influence of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)—a leader in the framing of the recently adopted Global Compact for Migration (GCM)—is on the rise. This concept paper addresses concerns that despite the IOM’s work in support of migrants’ rights, the IOM’s mandate to conform to the laws and policies of States, coupled with its lack of a legal commitment to the human rights of migrants, is problematic from the perspective of migrants’ rights.

City-Level Standards Enforcement and Engagement with the Global Compact for Migration

This concept note discusses recent efforts by cities and local governments to engage in the process leading up to the adoption and implementation of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM); GCM frameworks on labor standards enforcement and migrant worker rights; and actions being taken by cities in the United States to enforce labor standards and protect migrant workers. It concludes with options and good practices for cities and local governments to consider for improving conditions for migrant workers.

Private Regulation of Migrant Labor: Limitations of Corporate Social Responsibility Approaches

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approaches to addressing labor conditions for migrant workers in their supply chains include establishing codes of conduct, promoting use of contracts among suppliers, and engaging in multi-stakeholder initiatives. This concept note surveys a selection of corporate policies to provide insight into these approaches and their limitations. It concludes with pathways to improve monitoring and enforcement, specific approaches to improve working conditions for labor migrants, and alternative models for CSR—tripartite initiatives and agreements negotiated with worker organizations.

Portability in Tied Fixed Term Employment Regimes

Tied fixed term employment programs that admit migrant workers on a temporary basis to fill jobs in high-income countries are common across the globe. Within these programs, migrant workers have various degrees of portability, or freedom to move between employers. This concept brief presents a range of portability models, designed to support further dialogue and advocacy to increase portability for migrant workers in tied fixed term employment programs.

Critical Intersections: Right to Organize and Freedom from Arbitrary Detention

High-profile detentions of labor activists in several labor receiving states suggests a disturbing phenomenon of governments using immigration enforcement to quell the labor organizing activity and migrant workers’ other basic freedoms. This concept brief argues for attention to the intersecting issues of arbitrary detention and migrant workers’ participation in labor organizing activities, including as an area of focus for the Committee on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Labor Migration and the Global Compact: Portability for Migrant Workers in Labor Disputes

Ensuring migrant workers- both irregular and temporary workers- have the ability to remain in the country and work while labour disputes and unfair labour practices are being resolved is key to upholding rule of law and access to justice. This advocacy brief makes a case for including temporary immigration protections and authorization for migrant workers who have made good faith claims to violations of labor and employment law.

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