MIGRA.P trains Iraqi government officials on labour migration

Istanbul: As part of the ongoing activity to expand the labour migration rules and regulations of Iraq, ICMPD and Iraq’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) conducted a training for 19 MOLSA officials and three representatives from the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) based in Baghdad. The participating MOLSA officials came from different departments in charge of skills and vocational training, international relations, labour inspection, planning, information management and licensing.

During four days, experts from ICMPD, Italy and the Philippines provided various kinds of information on the processes, regulations and structure required to manage labour migration based on experiences from other countries as applicable to Iraq’s context. This includes the available labour markets in Iraq and other countries, how skills and training can match the labour demand, and how to ensure that the processes and regulations are compliant with international and national standards and frameworks.

“Our Ministry is in-charge of issuing working permits, inspecting worksites and responding to labour complaints. Our officers need to enhance their capacities to conduct these tasks so that we can implement our labour laws properly”, explained Raed Jabbar Bahedh Al-Lami, Director General for Vocational Training of MOLSA. He emphasised the need for the training as MOLSA aims to improve its structure, programmes and services to respond to the needs of foreign workers. “MOLSA maintains a shelter for victims of human trafficking. And we want to solve this problem - we need to have bilateral arrangements with origin countries to ensure safe and regular migration”, he explained further.

The training covered labour migration management regarding Iraqis working outside of their home country as well as foreign workers going to Iraq; there are approximately 300,000 foreign workers in Iraq, mainly coming from Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines but also from Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Syria. Some of them have entered or are working in Iraq without valid immigration permits and are working in different job categories – from low to high skilled.

Most Iraqis working abroad are in the Gulf Countries; in the absence of a system for registering them, Iraq’s government does however not have reliable data on their exact numbers and profiles. The proposed expansion of Iraq’s labour migration rules and regulations shall address this challenge, which MOLSA had earlier identified as a priority.

The training was conducted under the Migrants Protection component MIGRA.P of the ongoing project “Improving Migration Management in the Silk Routes Countries” funded by the European Union.