Migrant access to social protection under Bilateral Labour Agreements: A review of 120 countries and nine bilateral arrangements (ESS Working Paper No. 57)

Organization(s): ILO
Author: Clara van Panhuys, Geneviève Binette, Samia Kazi-Aoul
Year: 2017
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This working paper: (i) examines migrants access to social protection under Bilateral Labour Agreements (BLAs) with a view to providing policy makers with guidelines for extending social protection to migrants and designing better migration policies; (ii) presents the results of a mapping of bilateral and multilateral social security agreements in 120 countries; (iii) reviews legislation with respect of the provisions granting equality of treatment between nationals and non-nationals; (iv) provides a more in-depth legal analysis of migrant workers’ access to social protection under BLAs or Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for 9 corridors, 15 countries, namely: Canada-Mexico, Spain-Morocco, Spain-Ecuador, France-Mauritius, France-Tunisia, Philippines-Saudi Arabia, Qatar-Sri Lanka and Republic of Korea-Sri Lanka, South Africa-Zimbabwe, as well as migrant’s access to social protection in Belgium; (v) promotes the inclusion of social security provisions into BLAs and MoUs ensuring the organization of migration for employment, in particular provisions on equality of treatment with respect to social security; and (vi) calls on policy makers to ratify and apply relevant international labour standards, conclude multilateral and bilateral social security agreements, adopt unilateral measures to enhance migrant workers’ access to social protection, involve social partners in the design and implementation of social protection for migrant workers, and take action to tackle the practical barriers migrant workers and their families face to be able to fully enjoy their right to social security.

Related Principles

Universality of Protection

States parties to major human rights instruments related to economic, social and cultural rights such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have an immediate minimum core obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of all economic, social and cultural rights such as the right […]

Social Protection and Human Rights