Countries with a high population of migrant workers can introduce standardised contracts to protect them abroad, but much depends on the rules in place where they end up, according to a labour expert. "The problem is the workers entered into this agreement and don't have any option but to accept it because they are heavily in debt," said Thetis Mangahas, a senior migration specialist at the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations agency that deals with labour issues.
"If they want to complain, is there a justice mechanism? They do not proceed due to fear and language problems." It was also difficult to prove whether the worker entered into the contract willingly or not, she said. "It is highly likely that the worker accepts the contracts under reduced terms and hopes things get better," she said. In a report issued on June 3, the Migration Policy Institute, an independent agency in Washington that studies global migration issues, said contract fraud, which includes contract substitution and the deployment of workers to different jobs upon arrival than they were promised, happened frequently.
"There is no official data indicating whether the degree of contract fraud varies by skill level," the report said. "However, perception exists among some government officials, industry insiders and migrants interviewed for this report that it happens more often to low-skilled and unskilled workers." It was a practice driven by the desire for increased profit, said Lito Soriano, the former president of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters, in the report.
Some agencies might not even tell migrants that they would receive a lower salary than stated in the contract because they banked on the high probability that migrants, fearing deportation, would not complain, he said. firstname.lastname@example.org