Policy brief

The empowerment of migrant workers in a precarious situation


François Crépeau and Fay Faraday

The new policy brief looks at multiple precarious challenges faced by migrants and presents six specific policy goals to address them.

Migrants in a precarious situation—including undocumented migrants and temporary migrant workers— generally occupy the lowest-paid jobs in any society. Their rights are often trampled by those who profit from “cheap labor,” such as exploitative employers, greedy landlords, unethical recruiters, loan sharks, and smugglers. To reduce the precarity that fuels exploitation, migrants need to be empowered to defend their own rights. Mechanisms exist that have benefited other exploited minorities: unionization, inspections, and regularization of status. In the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, States adopted a compendium of measures that now must be implemented to ensure that migrants’ rights are effectively protected.