The International Organisation for Migration has urged nations to frame comprehensive and cooperative policies to ensure protection of the rights of migrants and temporary contractual workers and for successful management of global mobility.
"Protecting the human rights of migrants and of temporary contractual workers is paramount to ensuring global labour mobility delivers its full economic and human potential for the benefit all concerned," said IOM Direct-General Brunson McKinley on the occasion of International Migrants' Day.
In 2007, migrant workers from developing countries sent home through formal channels more than $240 billion, whilst at the same time making significant contributions to the economic growth and prosperity of host countries, he said.
When effectively managed, international labour mobility can also play an important role in helping migrants acquire knowledge and skills which can promote development in the home country, McKinley said.
Despite their positive contribution to the global economy, IOM regretted that migrant workers and temporary contractual labourers continue to face challenges in many parts of the world, including poor working conditions and various forms of abuse and discrimination.
To complement strong national legal frameworks, inter-state dialogue and cooperation on labour mobility are crucial for economic, developmental and social progress and are also the best guarantee of respect for the human rights of migrants, he said.
"Protecting the human rights of migrants and contractual workers can be achieved through strong partnerships between countries of origin and destination, agencies with an interest in labour mobility and other important partners such as the private sector," McKinley added.
"This is why IOM lends its support and expertise to regional dialogue, such as the very important Colombo Process of eleven Asian labour countries of origin," McKinley adds.
In January 2008, the Colombo Process ministers will meet in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council and other Asian labour destination countries.
"This meeting exemplifies the way countries of origin from Asia and countries of destination from the GCC can come together to find practical ways to improve the well-being of Asian contractual workers in the Gulf region," he said.
Whilst there is growing recognition that managed labour mobility is indispensable to global growth and development, much more needs to be done to ensure the safe and efficient matching of supply and demand for global labour, he said.
Failing to recognise this will result in increased migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons and in more human rights violations.
Promoting transparent recruitment and employment policies is essential to uphold the rights of migrants and contractual workers, McKinley said.
Other measures to reduce their vulnerability include the provision of technical assistance to help countries identify their human resource needs and skills profiles as well as measures to facilitate the certification of qualifications.