Technology in the Governance of Labour Mobility

Project

Background

Technology has an increasingly important role to play in the governance of labour mobility. In particular, it proffers the prospect of creating effective solutions to current challenges, including increasing transparency in the recruitment process, lowering the costs of recruitment, creating platforms for worker organisation and facilitating information flow between various authorities to improve oversight through the migration cycle.

The Colombo Declaration, emanating from the Fourth Inter-ministerial Consultation of the ADD, therefore sets out a vision for “building on current national government and bilateral initiatives in designing a prototype of a regional digital labour platform that streamlines labour mobility.”

There are several challenges that member states face in building a fully integrated, regional digital labour platform. Although the technology required to create such a platform is widely available, challenges fall into three broad areas: a) the calibration of regulatory standards between member states and subsequent integration of current national level IT systems; b) issues relating to data sovereignty, hosting and security; and c) the sharing of burdens on costs and fees. 

To meet these challenges, it is crucial that the system be structured against clearly defined goals and policies, rapidly adaptable to changing requirements, and built to be resilient to unpredictable shocks to the system. 

In light of these requirements, ADD member states recommended that the best approach to scaling up a regional digital labour platform is to begin with a narrowly defined scope, which bypasses incumbent organisational structures and focuses on building capacity around a specific pilot project. 

To that end, the UAE and Philippines pilot project on An Alternative Model of Labour Recruitment has been identified as the starting point.

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