What is Ethical Recruitment?

Put simply, ethical recruitment is the process of engaging a worker fairly, transparently and on merit.


Recruitment agencies, and their sub-agents, in labour source countries play an important role in connecting workers with oversees employers. They help to negotiate contracts and manage pre-departure tasks. Unfortunately, the migrant worker recruitment industry is full of unscrupulous agents who abuse workers as part of a corrupt and illicit multi-billion dollar industry.


This abuse often involves lying to recruits about the true nature of the job, altering contracts, and demanding huge, and illegal, recruitment fees. Workers unable to pay the fees in cash are trapped into debt bondage, obliged to repay large loans at high interest rates.


To curb these practices, businesses looking to recruit migrant workers should adopt ethical recruitment practices, including the use of reputable recruitment agencies. Failure to do so could have costly legal and reputational consequences.


The FLA promotes the Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity[1] which include:

  • No fees are charged to migrant workers

  • All migrant worker contracts are clear and transparent

  • Policies and procedures are inclusive

  • No migrant workers’ passports or identity documents are retained

  • Wages are paid, regularly, directly and on time

  • The right to worker representation is respected

  • Working conditions are safe and decent

  • Living conditions are safe and decent

  • Access to remedy is provided

  • Freedom to change employment is respected, safe return guaranteed


What can your company do to implement ethical recruitment practices? [2]

  • Develop a company policy designed to protect and respect workers’ rights and freedom and ensure that the policy is implemented appropriately

  • Ensure that you are using ethical recruitment agencies for your employment needs by conducting research on the agencies your company uses

  • Follow up with workers at regular intervals after they have been hired to assess whether or not the company policy is being adhered to

  • Work with other industry partners to collectively implement reforms that make unethical recruitment agencies and employment standards unviable

The FLA strives to provide practical information as to how companies can implement ethical recruitment and labour practices, as well as provide a space for companies with a demonstrated interest in doing so to connect.

[1] https://www.ihrb.org/dhaka-principles/


[2] https://www.wecglobal.org/uploads/media/WEC_Business_Case.pdf

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