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Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 8d
Model Code of Conduct for Recruitment Agencies

Short term contract migration from South Asian countries began soon after the oil price hike of the early 1970s. Initially, recruitment of workers was managed by state agencies; over time, however, private agencies began to play an active role in securing demands, negotiating with employers, recruiting workers and processing their documents. The rise of strong economies in South-east Asian countries led to increased demand for migrant labour, contributing to the further growth of recruiting agencies.

The agencies have been playing a crucial role in exploring the market and securing overseas employment; it is also true that the recruitment sector is beset with many problems that contribute to hardship, misery and harassment of migrants and potential migrants. In some countries the industry began wielding substantial power. Lack of accountability of the sector has led to demands for developing an effective code of conduct for the agencies. It is in this context that this study is proposed.

Key Research Questions

Examine the backdrop of the development of the recruitment industry in the five south Asian countries;
Identify the problems that exist in the labour recruitment sector for overseas employment;
Assess the existing regulatory frameworks that guide the recruitment industry in these countries;
Analyse the self regulatory mechanisms of the recruitment industry in these countries and identify best practices in the region and in countries such as the Philippines



Type(s) of Migration
Global Labour Mobility

Bangladesh / South Asia


Richard Black

Choudhury Abrar (RMMRU)
in collaboration with SAMReN partners

Key activity

1. Interviews with government functionaries dealing with labour migration and recruitment industry (such as the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training in Bangladesh, Philippines Overseas Employment Authority and Sri Lankan Bureau for Foreign Employment)
2. Meetings with a select group of leading recruiting agencies and their federating associations, and members of migrant support groups, returnee migrants’ associations, experts and civil society activists.
3. Survey of documents pertaining to the issue in government, private sector and civil society institutions.
4. A regional workshop with representatives of the recruitment industry, governments and civil society.

Key Outputs

A regional workshop in Dhaka
A monograph
Policy briefing
Newspaper reports


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With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs