Labor Migration

labor migration, Solidarity Center, worker rights

The Solidarity Center strives for rights for people on the move by ensuring migrant workers are fully able to exercise their workplace, social, economic and democratic rights. Solidarity Center/Jeanne Hallacy

Labor migration feeds the global economy. Hundreds of millions of migrant workers worldwide generate billions of dollars in global remittances. They are domestic workers, construction and agricultural workers, factory and service workers, teachers and professionals. Migrant workers often travel long distances due to a lack of decent work at home to support their families and build a better life. They frequently are denied the most basic human rights. For instance, most destination countries deny migrant workers the right to form unions, and explicitly exclude them from labor law protections, and women migrant workers are often subject to gender-based violence and harassment in their workplaces.

The Solidarity Center strives for worker rights for people on the move by ensuring migrant worker rights are a key part of the labor movement. We cultivate an understanding of how exploitative labor migration management schemes are a widespread means by which to undercut worker wages, create precarious work and pit workers against each other. And, in addressing these structural ills, we emphasize a response that understands the intersectionalities and identities that make migrant workers especially vulnerable. Our goal is to ensure that migrant workers are fully able to exercise their workplace rights, as well as their social, economic and democratic rights.

We also focus on the creation of decent work in home countries so workers can migrate by choice and not due to economic coercion. We recognize that migration is not caused by a single factor that “pushes” workers to migrate. In doing so, we bring our unique worker rights voice more broadly by emphasizing that everyone deserves dignity at work regardless of status—climate migrants, economic migrants and conflict refugees. We work to achieve this through programs that focus on union organizing and collective bargaining, policy advocacy, access to justice, safe migration and, more broadly, the ability to exercise fundamental freedoms as democratic participants.

migration, migrant workers, Freedoms on the Move report, Solidarity Center,, CIVICUS

Freedoms on the Move, a 2019 report by Solidarity Center and CIVICUS, is an urgent call to action for unions and other civil society groups to include migrant workers and refugees in advancing civic rights.

[News 18: India] Mission Houses in Gulf Nations Should Record Indian Workers’ Wage Grievances Before Repatriation, Says Tharoor

Neha Misra, senior migration specialist for the Solidarity Center, said lack of freedom of association for migrant workers is leading to wage theft.

Young Minds At Work: Educating the Children of Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand

TIME TO LEARN The migrant children diploma center opened in 2013 as the first school for children of Burmese migrant workers in the community known as “little Burma” located an hour outside Bangkok in Mahachai, Thailand. Thousands of children accompany their parents...

In Thailand, Burmese Migrant Workers Toil Without Rights

An estimated 200,000 Burmese migrants fuel Thailand’s huge fishing industry in Samut Sakhon province, an hour outside of Bangkok. The majority of workers are ethnic Mon from farming villages in southern Burma and they send their salaries to their families back home....
Reaching Kenya Communities on Realities of Migrating for Jobs

Reaching Kenya Communities on Realities of Migrating for Jobs

In Kenya, where 2.5 million people toil in irregular, precarious jobs—compared with 900,000 in the formal sector—many workers are unable to support their families and so become targets for the labor brokers who haunt villages and cities and convince them to get jobs...

Migrant Workers in Africa: In Their Own Voices

Migrant Workers in Africa: In Their Own Voices

Some 34 million Africans are migrants, and the majority are workers moving across borders to search for decent work—jobs that pay a living wage, offer safe working conditions and fair treatment. Yet even as they often leave their families in search of jobs that will...

Make Every Job a Good Job

Make Every Job a Good Job

Around the world, workers, their unions and other associations are striving to promote the rights of working people at their jobs and in their everyday lives. While every job has value, not all jobs are “good jobs.” Millions of jobs around the world do not offer the...

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