This content was published in the period between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019

Article from Ministry of Justice

International certification system to combat unethical recruitment of migrant workers


On Tuesday 3 November, the Government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) organised a seminar on labour migration and ethical recruitment. Supported in part by the Swedish Government, IOM is currently developing the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a certification system that will help companies ensure the ethical and sustainable recruitment of international labour.

  • Morgan Johansson, Minister for Justice and Migration, William Lacy Swing, Director Gerneral IOM and Lara White, Senior Labour Migration Specialist IOM

    Photo: Government Offices of Sweden

  • Morgan Johansson, Minister for Justice and Migration

    Photo: Government Offices of Sweden

  • William Lacy Swing, Director General, IOM

    Photo: Government Offices of Sweden

IRIS aims to strengthen the protection of migrant workers on the global labour market by combating their exploitation and indebtedness in connection with the recruitment process. Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson emphasised in his opening address that labour migration can be fundamentally positive for all concerned but there is a risk people may be taken advantage of and end up in a parallel shadow society.

“Labour migration must never lead to social dumping or people being exploited. Strengthening migrants’ rights on the labour market, in Sweden and the world, is a priority for the Government, and Sweden consequently supports this project,” says Mr Johansson.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing spoke about the positive aspects of migration in his address, but stated that many migrants are tricked and trapped into debt by unethical recruiters who take advantage of their weak position.  According to Mr Swing, an international certification system would also lead to positive outcomes for companies and countries.

The seminar was attended by representatives of companies, trade unions and non-governmental organisations, and a concluding panel debate discussed how IRIS can be used and how the private sector, social partners and public sector can cooperate to ensure ethically sustainable conditions for migrant workers.

Facts about IRIS:

IRIS is a voluntary international instrument for certification of recruitment intermediaries and other companies that commit to recruitment practices in line with a code of conduct.

The code of conduct consists of twelve ethical recruitment principles.

The aim is to reduce exploitation of migrant workers, but also to increase transparency and combat unfair competition between businesses in need of labour.