A committee will be formed to prevent abuses by and protect migrant workers against unscrupulous overseas employment agencies, according to the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation.
Committee members will include a representative from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, an anti-trafficking police officer, a legal expert, a labour expert, a representative from overseas employment agencies, a migrant labour representative and an independent representative, said U Win Tun, the vice chairman of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation. Oversea employment agencies and the International Labour Organization participated in drafting a code of conduct to govern agencies. About 114 overseas employment agencies have ratified the code of conduct since its creation in August 2016. The code is based on the legal framework for responsible business practices in Myanmar’s apparel sector. The federation plans to issue rankings of oversea employment agencies on 19 August.
“Our Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) will give grades to agencies according to the Code of Conduct, CoC,” said U Win Tun. There are three sets of criteria to determine whether agencies are following labour rules and regulations. While there is no plan yet to take legal action against scofflaws, those who fail to meet agreed standards will be made public and known to migrant workers for their protection.
“Overseas labour agencies need to act in a correct way and show transparency in dealing with workers and international employers,” said U Win Shein, the director-general of the labour department under the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population at a 16 July overseas employment agencies meeting. In 2016, 25,320 women and 56,306 men from Myanmar used overseas employment agencies.
By May Thet Hnin