Category Archives: News

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Philippine Jurisprudence on Overseas Employment, 1995-2015 book now available

LBB PHILIPPINES is pleased to share with you its second publication “PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE ON OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT(1995-2015).”

Following the successful completion and publication of our first compilation, “Selected Philippine Laws, Rules and Regulations on Overseas Employment”, we thought that it is essential to have a companion book in the form of an annotated topical index of cases on migrant worker related issues decided by the Philippine Supreme Court. We scoped almost 500 cases from 1995 to 2015, which are milestone years for migrants’ rights – 1995 was the year when Republic Act No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 was enacted by Congress following the public outcry over the execution of Filipino domestic worker Flor Contemplacion in Singapore; 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families under UN Resolution No. 45/158; and 2015 likewise marked the 20th anniversary of the ratification of this Convention by the Philippine Senate. 


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Lawyers Beyond Borders Conducts National Consultation in Lebanon

Migrant Forum in Asia together with Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center organized the Lawyers Beyond Borders national consultation in Lebanon on March 13, 2016 at Padova Hotel bringing lawyers and advocates to talk about who are working on labour and human rights violation cases of migrant workers in the country. Lawyers joining the “local chapter” in Lebanon identify major and common areas of concern on the situations of migrant workers and collaborate with migrant support groups / civil society in Lebanon and with stakeholders in the countries of destination should they require support in understanding and applying legal policies. The meeting’s objectives include:

  • Discuss issues of migration, human rights and access to justice for migrant workers
  • Sharing of experiences among the lawyers and legal aid practitioners in Lebanon in terms of improving access to justice for migrant workers in the country.
  • Identify a common platform among lawyers in Lebanon that can mobilize actions to integrate migrants’ rights issues in their work and enhance the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families in the country.

Noha Roukoss from CLMC talked about the Local labour policies and regulation, its mechanisms an challenges in Lebanon. An expert from the International Labour Organization Ms. Zeina Mezher, National coordinator of the labour migration programme discussed the implementation of ILO Labour Standards in the context of Lebanon. Atty. Henry Rojas, LBB Regional Coordinator, also discussed the process of cross border litigation in the context of a country of origin.

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Packed detention centres due to delay in deporting illegals, deputy home minister says

1 March 2016, The Malay Mail Online

The nationwide crackdown against illegal immigrants enters its twelfth day today, with over 30,000 screened and 9,900 rounded up since February 19.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said while the daily operations, dubbed Ops Hari Hari, are yielding results, the delay in deporting them has resulted in congestion at the 14 detention centres across the country.

The matter  was  highlighted by Immigration director-general Datuk Sakib Kusmi who suggested the expansion of current detention centres with more holding centres to be built immediately.

In an exclusive interview with Malay Mail recently, Nur Jazlan said the government had stopped funding the deportation of illegal foreigners since 2014, resulting in the overcrowded centres.

“The detainees will now have to fork out their own money, either through their embassies or families. This is the main reason for the delay,” he said.

“Prior to 2014, the government had set aside a budget for the deportation of illegal foreigners and the process was faster.”

The overcrowding has forced the Penang Immigration Department to search for new detention centres in Terengganu. The centre in Juru is now full with 500 detainees while the centres in Belantik, Kedah and Langkap in Perak — with maximum capacities of 1,050 and 1,000 respectively — are now overcrowded with 1,158 and 1,500 detainees respectively.

Penang immigration deputy director P. Selva said yesterday the department was forced to send detainees to Ajil in Terengganu. He said there was a need to identify other areas in the state that could house detainees. There are 900 foreigners in Ajil.

The Pulai MP said employers, especially from the construction sector, were the main culprits bringing workers from abroad but failing to safeguard their welfare, which forced them to find jobs elsewhere.


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How changes to the UAE labour laws will affect you

29 February 2016, The National

UAE residents and employers are familiar with adapting to changing rules and regulations. So it was no surprise the new year brought with it three decrees from the Ministry of Labour (MoL) now in place for those employed outside of free zones.

The decrees – “standard work contract”, “terminating work contract” and “granting a new work permit” – are designed to enhance transparency and encourage more flexibility within the labour market.

Shedding some light on the changes is Murtaza Khan, a partner in the immigration service provider Fragomen Worldwide, responsible for the provision of outsourced corporate migration solutions throughout the Middle East and Africa.

What are the major changes of the new UAE labour regulations?

Some larger companies may have Tas’heel (centres offering MoL services) access on-site, but the majority will have their authorised representative visit a Tas’heel Service Centre, where a standardised offer letter must now be prepared through the MoL’s electronic system. The offer letter is created along with an annex that summarises the most important aspects of the UAE labour law, covering rights and obligations of the employer and employee. Both documents must then be signed by both parties, before being taken back to Tas’heel for the work permit application.

In addition to the offer letter, a new version of the standardised employment contract has been introduced and it is again accompanied by an annex, similar to the one supporting the offer letter. The employment contract should be printed from the MoL’s system and then signed by both parties.

What happens next?

The contract must be submitted to the MoL within 14 days of the worker’s arrival in the UAE based on the employment entry permit, or from the date of the status change. The employment contract must be in accordance with the conditions that had been presented to the candidate within the offer letter. A similar process applies with renewals, as employers and employees are now expected to agree mutually on the terms through the renewal of the employment contract, including a similar annex and signatures of both parties.

What happens if you change employers?

Individuals will now be able to secure new work permits if they have completed six months (instead of two years) with their previous employer and there is no issue raised by either party. There is further flexibility for holders of “unlimited term” contracts who are now allowed to obtain a new work permit even if it is an employee-initiated termination, so long as the employee has completed six months’ service and completed their notice period as agreed.

In addition, the requirement to complete six months is waived if individuals belong to a position in category 1, 2 or 3 of the MoL’s skills classification system. These distinctions are published by the MoL in detail on its website and individuals are advised to consult these or seek appropriate employment counsel to ensure this is correctly applied to their particular situation.

Can people still receive bans?

There is now expected to be far greater flexibility for changing jobs in the UAE by eliminating the automatic six months’ employment ban that was applicable for certain categories of workers. The ban is now expected to apply in far fewer instances and, in general, if one has mutual agreement upon termination of a contract and has completed six months with their previous employer, the ban should not apply to them.


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Lawyers Beyond Borders Philippines is inviting everyone to the book launch on “Selected Philippine laws, rules and regulations on overseas employment.” The book launch will be held on December 16, 2015 at Function Room, Amenities Floor, Symphony Tower 1, Sgt. Esguerra St., Timog, Quezon City, Philippines. The book contains compilation of existing laws, rules and regulation on overseas employment intended to be a handy reference material that may be used by legal practitioners, paralegal workers and NGOs providing legal assistance to migrant workers.

If interested to attend the book launch, please send an email to and for reservation.

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[Research] Labour Migrants and Access to Justice in Contemporary Qatar

Category : Documents , News

By Andrew Gardner (University of Puget Sound), Silvia Pessoa (Carnegie Mellon Qatar), Laura Harkness; December 2014

Read the research in these languages: English ; Arabic

The 60-page report looks at migrants’ interactions with three primary institutions – the Department of Labour Relations, the Labour Court and the Ministry of Interior. The authors found that only a tiny proportion of migrants ever take labour-related cases to the justice system. Of those who do, a large proportion end up abandoning their cases because they cannot support themselves during what are often lengthy legal proceedings. However, those who do persevere and see their cases through to the end often get positive judgements. One conclusion is that the justice system could play a much more influential role in adjudicating labour relations. With incremental improvements to expand migrants’ access to legal redress, the experiences of millions of migrants could be improved.

Specific recommendations include:

  • Increase the speed of handling migrants’ cases, which currently often take a year or more
  • Provide translation services for migrants, who speak more than 20 languages
  • Allow migrants to seek other legal work while a case is in process
  • Provide authorities with more punitive measures, including penalties for employers who withhold worker pay or refuse to attend court
  • Create a monitoring program to track migrant worker cases and complaints, so as to pinpoint problems and solutions

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Second Lawyers Beyond Borders Conference

10593203_10152727317539187_7302937966104189427_n 5-7 September 2014
Beirut, Lebanon

The Lawyers Beyond Borders network was established by MFA in 2011 in response to the crucial need for more fair and adequate legal redress mechanisms for migrants, and increased coordination among legal practitioners in countries of origin and destination. Members of the Lawyers Beyond Borders network focus on migrant workers’ rights violation cases in Asia (West Asia in particular), and they make efforts to facilitate access to justice and apply strategic litigation and policy advocacy to their work.

On 5-7 September, Migrant Forum in Asia and Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre organized the 2nd Lawyers Beyond Borders regional conference: focus on access to justice for the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. 45 representatives, advocates, members of the bar council, activists, mission representatives and various CSOs convened in Beirut, Lebanon for the regional conference. The attendees were composed of: 20  lawyers and advocates from countries Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Philippines; 25 Civil society representatives with 7 representatives from Lebanon; and Mission representatives from the Embassy of Bangladesh, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Embassy of Indonesia, and Embassy of Sri Lanka.

The momentum built from the first convening of the network and the ongoing collaboration and discussions through the online listserv highlight the importance of strengthening the action points developed in 2011. The  second conference gathered together existing and new members of the network to:

  1. Explore different areas of access to justice, including strategic litigation which aim to address grievances of and improve protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families in countries of origin and destination;
  2. Identify challenges in policy and national legal systems that limit or prevent migrant workers and    members of their families in accessing and reclaiming justice;
  3. Recommend ways forward in ensuring an unhindered access to justice to uphold labor rights and human rights of migrant workers and their families
  4. Further strengthen the Lawyers Beyond Borders program by enhancing the capacities and knowledge of the members and partners on national, regional and international human rights and labor rights mechanisms, and increasing interaction and collaboration in relation to access to justice in countries of origin and destination.

The sessions discussed country access to justice for migrants and families in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Philippines. Specific cases studies were also highlighted in line with access to justice in two countries of destination: Jordan and Lebanon. Countries of origin chosen with specific case studies included Indonesia and Nepal. A specific session was also organized on public interest litigation, people’s tribunals, and addressing migrant workers’ rights violations through international human rights and labor rights treaties. The last day of the conference focused on developing a program of action for the Lawyers Beyond Borders network. The program of action included strengthening national lawyers networks and engagement with bar councils in both countries of destination and origin.

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Category : Documents , News is a global online platform that strategically collates information on campaigns, policies and initiatives, events, case studies, news articles, laws, and international conventions related to recruitment. It seeks to continuously update visitors of the realities on migration recruitment and the initiatives that exist to address or in some cases exacerbate these concerns.

It is evident today that recruitment practices plays an important role in the entire cycle of migration from the initial stage of recruitment, to pre-departure training, to signing of contracts, to conciliation and repatriation. In light of this, the need for collective global initiatives that will strategically address the problems in labour recruitment has never been more crucial than today.

In the last Global Forum on Migration and Development Civil Society Days (GFMD CSD) in Stockholm, a series of meetings was organized on labour migration and recruitment. Among the recommendations was to establish an Open Working Group on Labour Migration and Recruitment and to create a global knowledge-based online platform on recruitment. is run and managed by a small team based in the MFA Secretariat. MFA continuously adds data to the online platform and invites comments on how the online platform can be further improved. To signify interest for collaboration or if you would like to contribute relevant resource materials, please send MFA an email at

Visit the online platform here:

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New ILO Protocol on Forced Labour

Category : News

Dear Friends,

Hope all goes well. We are glad to inform you that on 11 June 2014, the International Labour Conference adopted a legally binding Protocol on Forced Labour which aims to advance prevention, protection and compensation measures as well as to intensify efforts to combat contemporary forms of slavery. Please see details below.Gill_Button_Raise_awareness_FL_800x600_facc12a89bb8

Migrant Forum in Asia who has been part of the process welcomes this historical milestone as it signals a strong political commitment to end forced labour. May this commitment be soon put into practice and that governments move quickly to ratify and enforce the Protocol.

Our thanks to our members and partners who have contributed to this success.

Courage, Peace, Power in a life full of meaning,

William Gois
Regional Coordinator
Migrant Forum in Asia


ILO adopts new Protocol to tackle modern forms of forced labour

On June 11, 2014, the International Labour Conference has adopted a new legally binding ILO Protocol on Forced Labour, aiming to advance prevention, protection and compensation measures, as well as to intensify efforts to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery.

The Protocol, supported by a Recommendation, was adopted by government, employer and worker delegates to the International Labour Conference (ILC) with 437 votes for 27 abstentions and 8 against.

“The Protocol and Recommendation mark a major step forward in the fight against forced labour and represent a firm commitment among governments, employer and worker organizations to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery,” Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General said.

The text of the Protocol and the Recommendation are available in the report of the Committee.

For more information, click here.

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2nd Advisory Committee Meeting and Fact-Finding Mission to Malaysia of the Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labor Migration


14-16 April 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We, the members of the Advisory Committee of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration representing fifteen countries, met on 14-16 April in Kuala Lumpur for the 2nd Advisory Committee Meeting and Fact-Finding Mission to inquire on the situation of migrant workers in Malaysia.

We consulted the Members of Parliament, Migration Working Group, Migrant Care, Malaysian Trade Union Congress, trade unions, Bar Council Malaysia, the National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), foreign missions and migrant leaders as part of our investigation.

We identified eighteen recommendations to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers in Malaysia which also includes the quality of life of migrant workers.

We call upon the Malaysian government to take immediate steps to implement three key recommendations below:

  1. MOUs signed between the sending countries and Malaysia should be transparent and made public. Stakeholders should be consulted in the formulation of MOUs. MOUs should stipulate minimum international labour standards, social protection and best practices in the management of migrant labour.
  2. Malaysia should move forward in concluding the draft ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The drafting of the Instrument is a product of Article 22 of the Cebu ASEAN Declaration on the promotion and protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers which was adopted in January 2007. The current draft should be made available to stakeholders.
  3. Malaysia should consider a government to government (G2G) approach in the recruitment of migrant workers Malaysia. This would minimize recruitment cost and exploitation of migrant workers by outsourcing companies and private recruitment agencies and labour brokers. A special government-led multi-sectoral evaluation task force should be established to analyze the impact of the current outsourcing and recruitment and management of migrant workers in the country.

We are seriously concerned with the management of migrant workers in Malaysia. Our investigation shows that migrant workers in Malaysia are highly vulnerable to exploitation and violence in an environment where their rights are not protected and promoted. In addition, migrant workers continue to face violation of labour rights including discriminatory wage practices, long hours of work, no weekly rest day, hazardous working conditions, physically and sexually abusive employers and deplorable living conditions.

Our findings indicate that migrant workers continue to live in poverty in Malaysia and in some instances worse off than they were before in their country of origin.

Existing laws are not adequately enforced to protect the rights of migrant workers. There is also lack of enforcement officers to monitor and carry out enforcement.

Migrant workers access to justice is curtailed by immigration policies. Migrant workers lose their work permit when they lodge a complaint against the employer and/or when they are fired. The migrant workers are then required to apply for a special pass at a monthly fee of MYR 100 issued at the discretion of the immigration officer. During this period, migrant workers are not allowed to work resulting in loss of income and incentive to pursue the case.

It appears that Malaysia’s present approach to the management of migrant workers victimizes the migrant worker and favours the business community and the economies of sending countries and Malaysia.

We call upon the Malaysian government to exercise strong political will in restructuring the management of migrant workers to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

Download a copy of the statement and the eighteen recommendations here


Asian Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration

The Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labor Migration was formalized in 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, through a resolution of the assembled MPs that aimed to foster collaboration and encourage a pro?active role for parliamentarians in advancing the rights and welfare of migrant workers across Asia. Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) was designated as the Secretariat that would act as the primary coordinating body for the Caucus. Since 2007, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and network partners, have been facilitating a parliamentarians program aimed at identifying the role for parliamentarians on the issues of labor migration and migrants’ rights, enhancing participation of MPs in that role, and identifying key issue areas to take on. For more information on the caucus please check the website: