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Enhancing Migrant Populations' Access to HIV and AIDS Services, Information and Support (EMPHASIS) is Committed to: Universal Access - Continuum of Prevention to Care                                                                                                                                         Promoting Women's Empowerment                                                                                                                                         Dignity and Safety of the Mobile Populations


Indian Parliamentarian’s Meet and Consultation on Vulnerabilities of Labour Migrants Dec 11, 2013

A consultation with select Members of Parliament in India was organized to raise the issue of migrants’ vulnerabilities including gaps in the policy framework. The day long consultation organized by Women Power Connect on behalf of CARE EMPHASIS, included discussions with different stakeholders on migration and the challenges around accessing migrant rights, and existing laws, policies and schemes for migrant workers. Shri Oscar Fernandes, Minister, Government of India; Shri Bhakta Charan Das, M.P; and Shri Baishnab Parida, M.P attended the meet. The session was moderated by Dr. Ranjana Kumari, prominent social activist and Director of Centre for Social Research.


Highlights from the MPs session:
Discussions with migrant representatives in India, key stakeholders including Government representatives, ILO, civil society representatives, trade unions and unorganized and domestic workers federations enriched the discussions and provided useful and concrete policy recommendations for the MPs.



The meeting with Parliamentarian’s began with a presentation by EMPHASIS highlighting the key vulnerabilities of migrant populations especially women migrants and the major policy and legal gaps in the migration framework. 


Some of the key recommendations put forward included provision of ID cards and health insurance schemes for migrant workers. The MPs acknowledged the relevance of the issues and recommendations presented.

Vulnerability, Rights and Identity:
The MPs acknowledged the fact that migrants are generally perceived in a negative light even though they take up jobs and deliver critical services that the local population does not normally undertake.  The MPs also acknowledged that migrants often lack basic rights and facilities at destination. They stressed that it is important to guarantee them rights and facilities including access to education for their children. Shri Bhakta Charan Das stressed on the specific vulnerabilities faced by women migrants. To safeguard rights of migrants it is important to ‘recognize them’ by providing them IDs and developing an effective registration system at source and destination.


Undocumented Migrants: The issue of undocumented migrants was also raised and the MPs stated that it is important for India to provide basic human rights to all migrants irrespective of their legal status in the country. However, the country is unable to provide them rights and entitlements at par with Indian citizens.


Policy Framework: The MPs also acknowledged the importance of ratifying International Conventions relating to rights of migrants including human rights for undocumented migrants and the Convention on Domestic Workers which would provide domestic workers with the same rights and social security benefits as other workers. The Government should take urgent steps to ratify these, they said.



With regard to ineffective implementation of existing laws, the MPs said that the civil organizations should extend support to the Government to improve the delivery framework.


Finally, EMPHASIS was asked to submit the recommendations formally so that the recommendations could be taken up at an official level.



Key Messages from the Consultation:

  • Vulnerabilities faced by migrant workers is largely a result of :- the existing law and policy environment in the country as the Constitutional provisions  relating to employment and labour laws in the country exclude informal sector workers and temporary migrants.
    -In cases where a law exists, there is ineffective implementation. For instance, with regard to minimum wages, inclusion of domestic workers in the health insurance scheme, etc. Very often, institutional mechanisms and support systems that can deliver are missing. There is also a need for sector specific laws authorizing autonomous tripartite boards and detailing in policies relevant to migrants, formulating distinct policies for workers belonging to different sectors
    -Lack of knowledge on rights and entitlements on the part of migrant workers
    -Attitude and behavior of service providers
  • audience.JPG
    Providing identity to workers including Nepalese migrants is extremely important for financial inclusion, social security benefits and to access Government schemes.
  • There is need for robust data to inform targeted programming and advocacy with respect to migrants. National data on migrants is out-dated and there is a need to put in place a dynamic system of registration for internal migrants at both source and destination states.
  • Workplace Improvement: Code of Conduct, promoting decent work and living conditions, improving the recruitment system. Empowering workers through rights-based awareness, education, organizing and unionizing workers, thereby improving collective bargaining power.
  • Social Protection, skill development and financial inclusion for workers and families
  • Livelihood and Social Security: Ensure minimum wages, stipulate hours of work, and ensure social security for migrant workers through portability of social security benefits.
  • Workers Facilitation Centres/Migrant Resource Centres should be institutionalized both at source and destination locations
  • Develop protocols and tools for self-assessment and increasing access to health seeking behavior for migrant workers.


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