Labour migration: Legal framework

Labour migration

Legal framework

Migrants are not only workers; they are also human beings. This United Nations Convention constitutes a comprehensive international treaty regarding the protection of human rights of migrants and members of their families. 

This is one of ILO’s two legally binding instruments relating to migrant workers: Convention No. 97 of 1949 concerning Migration for Employment and Convention No. 143 of 1975 on Migrant Workers. Both are complemented by non-binding recommendations. This Convention applies to the whole labor migration continuum from entry to return, including the conditions governing the orderly recruitment of migrant workers. It also articulates the principle of their equal treatment with national workers regarding working conditions, trade union membership and enjoyment of the benefits of collective bargaining, accommodation, social security, employment taxes and legal proceedings relating to matters outlined in the convention.

This Recommendation supplements the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised 1949), No.97 by including provisions for migrants who are refugees and displaced persons.

This Convention complements Convention No. 97 of 1949 by concerning migrations in abusive conditions, including irregular migration, and the promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment of migrant workers.

This Recommendation includes proposals for migrant workers as regards equality of opportunity and treatment and social policy in regard to employment and residence.

This brochure presents the provisions of the Domestic Workers Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201. These new standards, adopted in June 2011, are a strong recognition of the economic and social value of domestic work and a call for action to address the existing exclusions of domestic workers from labour and social protection. Given that most domestic workers are women, the new standards are an important step to advance gender equality in the world of work and ensure women’s equal rights and protection under the law. For French, Spanish, and Indonesian versions, click here.

This short factsheet helps you understand what Convention No. 189 on domestic workers is, who it covers, and what minimum standards it sets.

NORMLEX is a new information system that brings together information on International Labour Standards (such as conventions, protocols, recommendations, ratification information, reporting requirements, comments of the ILO's supervisory bodies) as well as national labour and social security laws.


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Please be advised that following extensive system-wide consultations and the proposal by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration, the UN Secretary-General decided, at a meeting of the Executive Committee on 23 May 2018, to establish a UN Network on Migration, as a successor to the Global Migration Group, to ensure effective, coordinated system-wide support to the implementation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.


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