[Study] Something is Better than Nothing: Enhancing the protection of Indian migrant workers through Bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding
Category : Documents
The study deals primarily with MOUs entered into by the Government of India, showing that India’s recent record has been impressive in negotiating many MOUs, and social security agreements and one labor mobility partnership. Yet, it is difficult to find much evidence that the MOUs and agreements on labor migration have contributed to improved protection of Indian workers in the major destinations – the Gulf countries and Malaysia.
However, this should not imply that India is better off without MOUs. The existence of MOUs has a political value, and they have provided a firmer foundation for the country to build upon in this regard. In this sense, an agreement or MOU is better than a situation of no agreement or MOU. The MOUs provide a broad framework but they need to be backed up by concrete initiatives in the areas of model contracts, workplace monitoring, dispute resolution mechanisms, mechanisms for access to justice, monitoring practices of recruitment agencies, and adequate labor inspection systems. While these may be harder to negotiate, they should nevertheless receive high priority if MOUs are to have operational value in protecting Indian migrant workers abroad.