International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS)

When recruitment is fair and ethical, it benefits migrant workers, employers, as well as governments in countries of origin and destination. Switzerland partners with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the consolidation of the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a global initiative to promote ethical international recruitments that engages different actors. Engaging with the private sector will be at the center of this phase. 

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Monde entier
Travailleurs migrants
Migration en général (développement et partenariats)
01.12.2021 - 30.11.2024
CHF  1’400’000
Contexte Migrant workers contribute to growth and development in their countries of destination, while countries of origin greatly benefit from their remittances and the skills migrants acquired during their migration experience. Yet, often the potential benefits of labor migration are not being reaped, because migration takes place in an unorderly and unsafe manner, enabling the abuse and exploitation of migration workers. The exploitation of migrants often begins at the recruitment stage, when workers are charged recruitment fees and costs or misled about the job on offer. Many migrants have to get into debt to pay for recruitment fees, which makes them dependent on their recruitment agents and future employers. Without fair recruitment and the protection of migrants’ rights, labor migration can thus amount to institutionalizing forced labor. Existing regulations and private sector practices in many countries often fail to uphold international human and labor standards and do not effectively address abusive recruitment practices. According to global estimates, around 25 million people are victims of forced labour globally – with about half of all victims in debt-bondage.
Objectifs Ethical recruitment becomes a norm in international recruitment and improves migrants’ access to decent work and protection. 
Groupes cibles

Governments, workers and employers’ organizations, as well as private recruitment agencies, cooperatives, and civil society actors

By cooperating with and supporting these stakeholders, with a special focus on private sector actors, the project will improve labour recruitment practices and the protection of women and men migrant workers in the target regions (South and South East Asia, Gulf Cooperation Council, East and Horn of Africa, West Africa and Europe), as well as for migrant workers globally.

Effets à moyen terme

SDC’s support will focus on engaging with the private sector:

1)     Increased commitment and action by (sectoral) employers organizations that promote ethical recruitment to reduce risks and costs associated with irregular and unsafe labor migration, and to ensure productive employment, decent work and protection of migrant workers

2)     Enhanced engagement by and alignment between brands, suppliers and recruiters to promote migrant worker protection, ethical recruitment and supply chain due diligence through multi-stakeholder collaboration

3)    Enhanced migrant voice to improve recruitment practice, working conditions and wellbeing of migrant workers as well as grievance mechanism and remedy action


Principaux résultats attendus:  

-        10 industry specific policy documents, training, tools and implementation guidance developed

-        300 industry groups and member companies trained

-         4 industry specific IRIS supply chain pilots implemented

-        4 industry grievance mechanisms strengthened 

-        70 brands and their supply chain partners equipped with skills to conduct migrant worker centered due diligence

-        4 industry specific toolkits on migrant voice, engagement and empowerment developed

-        5 partnerships between private sector and migrant worker support organization brokered

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

The International Recruitment Integrity system (IRIS) was co-initiated by the SDC  and IOM and became a leading global initiative in fair recruitment:

-        The IRIS Standard and IRIS certification were developed and capacity building rolled-out to over 600 recruiters and over 55 employers, brands and business initiatives

-        After releasing the 2020 Montreal Recommendations on recruitment, tailor-made support for governmental actors was developed and the IRIS Global Policy Network created

-        An IRIS Monitoring and Compliance mechanism was developed together with civil society actors

-        Partnerships with employers and other private sector actors were established and supply chain due diligence mechanism tested in collaboration with first moving multinational businesses.

Main insights: To transform the existing model of international recruitment, concerted effort among different stakeholder groups is needed. Tailor-made engagement with the different groups and partnerships across them are needed to consolidate IRIS efforts. The lack of expertise and capacity of industry groups[1], brands and employers has been identified as a key obstacle for increased demand for fair recruitment and the establishment of a conducive ecosystem, where migrant voice is heard.

[1] Industry group, also could be referred to as trade group or business/sector associations is an organization or a group of associated multinational companies that operate with specific industry.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
Organisme des Nations Unies (ONU)
  • Organisation internationale des migrations
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs SDC GPMD’s labor migration portfolio (Middle East; South Asia; Africa and Central Asia); Institute for Human Rights and Business, Migration Policy Institute, SDC Economy & Education; Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, US Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration.
Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    1’400’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    926’451
Phases du projet Phase 1 01.12.2021 - 30.11.2024   (Phase en cours)