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Reforming labour migration systems

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  1. Regional Consultative Meeting on International Migration and Development in the Arab Region In preparation of the second High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development League of Arab States Headquarters, Cairo, 4-5 June 2013 Reforming labour migration systems Mohamed Dito Policy Advisor LMRA ( Bahrain Labour Market Regulatory Authority ) Kingdom of Bahrain

  2. Content • Conceptual approach to reforming migration systems . • Snapshot on key reform initiatives in GCC . • Three Recommendations .

  3. Amartya Sen “ Remarks at the Inaugural Meeting of the GDN Conference understanding Reform “ - New Delhi, 27 January 2004 Source: www.gdnet.org/CMS/getFile.php?id=annual_conf_fifth_sen_speech

  4. “ I got a sharply defined question : “what three factors …. Would concern you most if you were charged with the task of initiating and implementing a major reform?” Faced with the herculean task of being the solitary captain of reform, it is tempting, of course, to flee, so that my three principal concerns could be: • How to get out of the job, • Which gullible guy to find to take it over from me, and • How to sweet-talk him or her into grabbing the poisoned chalice.”.

  5. The Three R’s of Reform REACH – RANGE – REASON

  6. REACH • “ we cannot understand the requirements of reform without sorting out what social objectives and values should be promoted by public policy. There may or may not be any payment free lunch, but there certainly is no ethics-free reform.” . • “ Since there is no ethics-free reform, a central question to be addressed is: what kind of ethics should we have? ….. the ethics involved has to be person-related as well as even-handed. “ • “It has to be “person-related” in the sense that it must not be divorced from the lives that people can lead and the real freedoms that they can enjoy. Development cannot be seen merely in terms of the enhancement of inanimate objects of convenience, such as a rise in the GNP (or in personal incomes). • “Further, the assessment has to be even-handed in the sense that it must not overlook the interests and freedoms of any group of people, and particularly not of those who are currently disadvantaged and downtrodden. The question that has to be persistently asked, while planning and implementing and economic reform, is what it is doing-directly or indirectly-to those who are at the bottom of the pyramid.”

  7. REACH of Migration Reform “ What that growth does for the people involved ….” BUT Who are these people ? • Migrants + Workers of the receiving countries . • Employers of the Sending & Receiving countries . How migration reforms can be truly “ person related “ and “ even-handed “ when one considers the interests of all above mentioned groups ?

  8. Redefining REACH : Even-Handed • General versus Specific: Within the migrants different segments : domestic services - formal workers - irregular migrants . • Gender aspects. • Migrant workers as well local citizens workers . • Workers versus employers ( receiving countries –sending countries ) .

  9. REACH : person related – even-handed

  10. REACH Economic growth versus Social cost

  11. Range • “It is not only important to remember that the ends of institutional reform and policy change have to be “person related” and “even handed,” but also to recognize that the means to pursue those ends involve a variety of institutions – not just a few magic bullets.” • “ The need for a wide “range” relates to the fact that social changes are not only diverse, they also interrelate with each other in many different ways. “ • “We need the “reach” for where we want to go (to make sense of our ends), but we also need the “range” of ways and means to be able to get there.”

  12. RANGE : multiple tools ( policies & institutions )

  13. “Recommendations for reform tend to come in the form of slogans: “Get rid of the ‘license Raj’,” “open up the markets,” “infrastructure first,” “education is the way forward,” “food first, then other things,” and so on. There is much general wisdom in each of these mottos, but they are really battle cries, rather than battle strategies. An adequate programme of reforms demands much more than aphorisms and epigrams. While we must aim at reach and must understand the need for range, the drawing up of policy packets requires much more detailed reasoning than the slogans can provide.”

  14. Snapshot on key reform initiatives in GCC . • Kingdom of Bahrain : 2006 LMRA – Fees – mobility – services – information and data . • UAE : law of supporting jobs – recruitment agencies Act – Electronic contract verification – wage protection system . • Saudi Arabia : Recruitment agencies . • Qatar : Migrant welfare initiative . • Kuwait : proposed new agency.

  15. Migration Reforms Fixing problems OR Cultivating new mind-sets ??? Policies – services – protection

  16. Four Types of Failures Source : “ Better Governance and Delivery of Reform through Learning and Partnership: Thematic Paper “ Jelle Visser and Birgitte Bentzen- Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, AIAS . 26 April 2006 . “ Implementation failures : There are two main types of implementation failure of well-intended policies (Mayntz, 1993). • One type of failure occurs when the authorities are unable to enforce rules (enforcement failure) • or when the target population is unwilling to comply (motivation failure). • The second type occurs when rules are followed but the problem does not disappear or when unwanted side effects appear, due to lawmaker’s deficient understanding of the problem and its causes (knowledge failure) • Or the impossibility to intervene in a selective and goal-directive way (intervention failure). It is very important to identify which failure one deals with in concrete cases like, for instance, policies that address the lack of continued vocational training for older workers (motivation? knowledge?), activation of the long-term unemployed (enforcement? motivation? intervention?), youth employment (enforcement? motivation?). “

  17. Recommendations • Range of migrations reforms should bring benefits to all stakeholders involved directly or indirectly in migration process . Migrants are central focal point , but the only one . Interests of workers in the receiving countries , as well employers in both sending and receiving countries , need to be considered and aligned to the developmental objectives that prizes economic prosperity and human dignity. Focusing on the most vulnerable is a priority , but not the only task . • Reach of migration reforms encompass socio-political and economic policies and a corresponding institutional framework within local , regional and international levels . Many regional coordination efforts need to be complemented by more action oriented bilateral multilateral cooperation . • Indicators set to monitor progress: Monitoring, assessing progress and evaluating reform efforts must be conducted in a transparent environment, conducted in partnership with social partners , and based on evidence based indicators ; locally, regionally , and globally