IOM Hong Kong SAR, China and the Equal Opportunities Commission Host Panel Discussion to Support Social Inclusion of Migrant Workers
The panel discussion was moderated by Devi Novianti, Equal Opportunities Officer from the EOC, with panellists, Myriam Mwizerwa, Head of IOM Hong Kong SAR, China Sub-Office, Siew Mei Cheung-Ang (Executive Director of Christian Action), Mabel Sieh (Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Director of South China Morning Post) and Mark Chiu (Senior Associate of Tanner De Witt). Photo: EOC
Hong Kong SAR, China – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) hosted a panel discussion on “Supporting Social Inclusion of Migrant Domestic Workers: For Business and Social Good” to celebrate International Migrants Day 2022. The event convened over 60 representatives from the international community, civil society organizations and the private sector.
Panellists shared insights on closing the gap of social inclusion for migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong SAR. At the event, IOM launched a short video featuring stories of three migrant domestic workers to illustrate the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and to celebrate the power of partnerships in supporting migrant workers in Hong Kong SAR, China. IOM worked closely with local organizations, government authorities and the private sector to provide support to more than 600 migrant workers impacted by the pandemic.
In his opening remarks, Giuseppe Crocetti, IOM Chief of Mission in China, stressed that “While the COVID-19 pandemic brought about major disruptions to human mobility in Hong Kong SAR, China and globally, migrants continue to make major contributions to development, supporting destination economies through their work and sending remittances to their home countries.”
“Foreign domestic workers have to jump through hoops to migrate for a better living for themselves and their families, including financing the costs of migration and living in with their employers,” said Siew Mei Cheung-Ang, Executive Director of Christian Action, highlighting the struggles migrant domestic workers encounter throughout the migration journey.
Addressing how businesses can better include migrant domestic workers in responsible business efforts, Myriam Mwizerwa, Head of IOM Sub-Office in Hong Kong SAR, China stressed that “it is important for businesses to see migrant domestic workers as part of their supply chain and workforce, as they enable many of their employees, especially women, to be available for work and contribute to the local economy.”
The private sector can be the leading agent to drive positive change by supporting conscious and ethical hiring practices of migrant domestic workers.
“Businesses can provide learning opportunities for employees to deepen their understanding of fair and ethical hiring practices and fulfil their obligations as responsible employers,” said Mark Chiu, Senior Associate of Tanner De Witt.
Aside from driving change through business actions, it is equally important to educate migrant workers on their own rights and obligations, and to empower them through capacity building efforts.
“Through equipping migrant workers with the needed knowledge and knowhow, they will be able to protect and stand up for themselves and their communities,” emphasized Mabel Sieh, CSR Director of South China Morning Post.
To conclude the night, Ricky Chu Man-kin, EOC Chairperson, remarked, “International Migrants Day, celebrated on 18 December every year, is a good reminder about how vital migrant workers are to Hong Kong. Notwithstanding their numbers and contribution, migrant domestic workers face specific challenges in Hong Kong which may not be shared by other migrants. Today’s discussion is a timely reminder of the protections, rights and respect that migrant domestic workers are entitled to.”
IOM supports the private sector in strengthening the ethical recruitment and employment of migrant domestic workers. A Best Practice Guide for Employers of Migrant Workers in the Care, Hospitality and Entertainment Sectors in Hong Kong SAR, China will soon be launched to assist employers in designing and implementing sector-specific ethical recruitment and employment practices in compliance with international standards and frameworks.
The event was organized under the framework of IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST), a regional initiative that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.
For more information about the event, please contact Myriam Mwizerwa at IOM Sub-Office in Hong Kong SAR, China (email@example.com).
For media inquiries about CREST, please contact Nguyen Thi Hong Yen at IOM Vietnam (firstname.lastname@example.org).