Safe Path: Ethical Recruitment and Employment

Safe Path: Ethical Recruitment and Employment

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Cross-border recruitment of workers is a vital part of facilitating international labour mobility. When recruitment is done in a fair and transparent way, it contributes to safe and orderly labour migration which benefits countries of origin and destination, employers, recruiters, and migrants.

In simple terms, ethical recruitment is hiring workers lawfully and in a fair and transparent manner that respects and protects their dignity and human rights. 

Definitions of “ethical”, “fair” or “responsible” recruitment are rooted in existing international standards and conventions. In particular, the ILO’s C181-Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 establishes clear protections for jobseekers, notably respect for the fundamental principles and rights at work and prohibition of charging fees to jobseekers.

The latest document to highlight ethical recruitment is the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. In particular, the 6th objective of the GCM is the “Facilitation of fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work.

Despite international commitments to ethical and safe recruitment practices, the reality on the ground reflects unethical recruitment as a widespread phenomenon across many economic sectors. Unethical recruitment practices are commonly associated with the recruitment of lower-skilled workers where prevailing practices are based on a ‘worker pays’ business model. In this model, the exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers begins during recruitment when they are charged with extra fees or misled about the job offered.

Under this arrangement, migrant workers pay the fees and costs related to recruitment and migration, often leaving them heavily indebted and highly vulnerable to exploitation. The ILO defines recruitment fees and related costs as: “any fees or costs incurred in the recruitment process in order for workers to secure employment or placement, regardless of the manner, timing or location of their imposition or collection.” 

This includes costs relating to international travel (i.e., passport, visa, return flights, etc.), medical and training costs, and any administrative or overhead fees associated with job placement. Recruitment fees include costs that are paid in money or property, deductions from wages or benefits, kickbacks or bribes, and in-kind payments such as free labour.

When combined with other forms of abuse such as false promises about the terms and conditions of employment, limitations on freedom of movement, coercion, or lack of access to remedy, this can lead to exploitation and conditions of forced labour.

Due to the importance of ethical recruitment to the Jordanian labour market, Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights decided to develop this study, which on one hand will analyse the national framework on ethical recruitment and its compatibility with international standards, and on another its actual implementation. 

To read more, download the Study above.. 


The study was written by Tamkeen with the support of hbs - Palestine and Jordan.

Product details
Date of Publication
November, 2021
Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
Language of publication