What We Know: Regulating the Recruitment of Migrant Workers
Private recruitment agencies orchestrate much of the migration process, from predeparture to return. They provide information, assistance, and even financial support to migrants; facilitate transit to and from the destination; and in some cases employ migrants directly. While recruitment agencies protect migrants, sometimes removing them from abusive workplaces or even organizing repatriation, migrants’ dependence on them for so many services also creates many opportunities for exploitation and abuse.
While a consensus is building over the need for agency regulation, disagreements persist over the appropriate form and function of regulation. Existing recruitment regulations have several areas for additional improvement. These areas include striking a better balance between too little and too much intervention, addressing the real cause of recruitment irregularities, and holding agencies accountable across multiple jurisdictions. This brief assesses the forms of regulation that are being proposed and enacted to oversee recruitment agencies and identifies several areas for further development.