IOM in partnership with Verité conducted the first IRIS introductory training in Africa on 27-28 February 2019. Licensed, accredited and registered private recruitment agencies were trained on IRIS standards in Nairobi, Kenya. IRIS (International Recruitment Integrity System) is a voluntary multi-stakeholder certification system for ethical recruitment developed by IOM and other partners to set an international benchmark and support ethical labour recruitment towards making the industry fair for workers, recruiters and employers.
The training was completed by 17 participants (14 female and 3 male) from nine recruitment agencies. The training sought to enhance the ability of recruitment agencies to make a business case for ethical recruitment. The participating agencies had an understanding on the IRIS standards and certification process.The participating recruitment agencies have been accredited by the government of Kenya through the National Employment Authority (NEA), an arm of the State Department of Labour and Social Protection. Kenya has active labour recruitments for the Gulf Cooperation Countries specifically the United Arabs Emirate (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar through recruitment agencies. To ensure that labour migration is safe and orderly, these agencies go through a rigorous accreditation process.
“IRIS complements IOM’s broader efforts to promote ethical recruitment and safe and legal labour migration, as well as combat forced labour and modern-day slavery,” emphasized by Michael Pillinger, Chief of Mission, IOM Kenya in a speech delivered on his behalf by Romina Sta. Clara, Programme Development and Liasion Officer.
NEA and IOM recently launched the “Kenya Labour Migration Information Website”, as a source of credible, factual and reliable information for prospective Kenyan migrant workers seeking employment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar. The website provides information and resources for safe, orderly and regular migration. The website can be accessed through (www.kenyamigrantworker.org).
Ms. Lilian Kilwake, in a speech delivered on behalf of Deputy Head of Regional Cooperation of Horn of Africa, Swiss Development Cooperation, cited that,“IRIS standard is aligned with other principles and auditing standards for ethical recruitment, including the ILO’s General principles on Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment. The implementation of IRIS is on track. IRIS will be a game changer in the migrant recruitment business.”
Dr. Sarah Kilema, Director, Somo Agency Services said, “I commend the organizers of the IRIS training for the informative training programme. However, everything new comes with resistance and therefore many questions and reservations that were witnessed from the recruiter’s side should be taken as a step in the right direction.”
The IRIS Training was supported as part of the project, “Promoting safe and fair labour migration from Kenya to the Gulf States” with funding from the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and implemented in partnership with Verité, a labour rights Non-Governmental Organization based in the USA.