The Public Service International (PSI) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria and leaders of countries across the world to ratify and implement key international instruments to protect the rights of migrants in the recruitment process, during their work placements and upon return to their countries of origin.
According to PSI, some of the international instruments include the United Nations (UN) Convention for the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention 87: Freedom of association and protection of the right to organise.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting held in Abuja at the weekend, the PSI called on all governments and non-state actors to uphold fair and ethical recruitment of migrant workers.
It said: “Recruitment should take place in a way that protects human rights, mitigates social costs and upholds core labor standards. Governments must regulate recruitment and scrap recruitment fees and related costs charged to workers.
“It is the employers who must bear the costs of recruiting workers, not the workers themselves. Recruiters often charge both the employer and the worker for their services. Rather than charging the workers, employers should be responsible for costs associated with any services rendered by recruitment agencies. “
PSI frowned at what it described as the collection of excessive recruitment fees and called on government agencies to institute punitive measures against abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices.
Responding to questions from journalists at the venue of the meeting, the Regional Secretary of PSI, Comrade Sani Baba, called on the Federal Government to improve the welfare packages of medical and health workers in the country to prevent brain drain.
He further advocated improvement in the infrastructure and general working environment of the medical and health workers in the country.
“What we can do to reduce brain drain in the health sector is to look at the packages that workers get and what they workers can get when they go to other countries.
“We have to look at the hospitals and also consider the general infrastructure, look at the incentives that you give to the workers that will keep them including the work environment generally and the policies that are put in place. The unions should also be involved when policies are formulated so that they can own it as their own,” Baba said.
The meeting, according to him, was aimed at enlightening Nigerian workers who are planning to leave to other countries for greener pasture.
“We are also out to enlighten the workers who are planning of leaving their countries. Generally, migration is a right, even though we are not trying to stop them from going, but if they want to go, there are some basic information that they need to know and also some impacts that may affect their family, work environment and the employment itself,” he noted.