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I speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania* and the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate, Bosnia and Herzegovina, align themselves with this Statement.
We support the IMEC statement.
We believe that in the current world of increased global mobility, fair recruitment constitutes more than ever, a crucial topic.
Today, workers are increasingly moving abroad for job opportunities, often far from their homes, going to countries they have never been before. Some of them, low-skilled workers in particular, are more vulnerable, and can be victims of abuses.
Indeed, some migrant workers, when arriving in the country of destination, experience a very different situation from the one they had expected. Retention of passports, deposits and illegal wage deductions, debt bondage linked to repayment of recruitment fees, threats if they want to leave their employers, are some examples of frequent abuses that can amount to human trafficking and forced labour.
In such a context, we believe that ILO's initiative on fair recruitment is crucial to prevent human trafficking and smuggling and protect the rights of workers, including migrant workers, from such abuses.
We welcome the commitment made in the NY Declaration to reducing the costs of labour migration and promoting ethical recruitment policies and practices between sending and receiving countries. We believe that the guidelines adopted at the ILO experts meeting can contribute to the discussions on the follow-up to the NY Declaration in the next two years.
The EU acquis covers several aspects for non-EU migrant workers working in the EU. The right to change employer is differentiated according to categories of migrant workers and length of stay. The directive on seasonal workers provides the right to change employer during the maximum duration of stay to avoid abuses and provide flexibility. Within the maximum duration of stay, an extension of the contract or change of employer is possible, provided that the admission criteria of the worker continue to be met.
The Directive on Temporary Agency Work applies to the supply of “agency workers” to user enterprises, whether private or public sector enterprises and provides that temporary workers should not be charged any recruitment fees.
In the EU, free movement of European citizens for work purposes is ensured and a network called EURES facilitates cross-border mobility, which could be a source of inspiration for fair employment and labour mobility.
However, the EU and its Member States are aware that abuses still occur and need to be prevented and addressed. The Anti-trafficking directive provides for sanctions in case of trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation, with a maximum penalty of at least 5 years’ imprisonment and at least 10 years in the case of aggravating circumstances. Victims of forced labour are protected under the victims' directive, which provides for rights, support and protection of all victims of crime.
We welcome the adoption of the principles and guidelines on fair recruitment, where responsibilities of governments and enterprises are clearly identified. The document reaffirms the rights of workers, including migrant workers to join trade unions, access collective bargaining and decent working and living conditions, as well as access to grievance mechanisms, redress and compensation when their rights are violated. It also acknowledges that no recruitment fee or other costs should be charged to workers and job-seekers, which is an important step. It promotes mutual recognition of skills and qualifications, in order to address brain waste and deskilling of many migrant workers. Finally, it suggests action paths, such as the promotion of bilateral or multilateral agreements.
We hope that this document will contribute to the general discussion on labour migration at the 2018 ILC.
Chair, we support the decision point.
*The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.