Destination countries need accurate information on their labour markets — so they are aware of the areas in which migrant workers are likely to be needed in future.
In many cases, labour-importing countries rely on the demand from the private sector to determine the need or otherwise for migrant workers. However, if they are to operate in a more consistent and strategic fashion and to construct sound and coherent policies on labour migration, countries will need regular analyses of the labour market — by sector, by occupation, and level of skill — so as to be able to assess demand trends and the likely requirement for migrant workers.
What the ILO can offer
The employment of migrant workers should be seen as part of a comprehensive labour market strategy, and many ILO departments can support countries in their efforts to devise and implement these strategies.
The Employment Policies Unit, for example, can carry out advisory missions and produce strategy papers, and the Employment Analysis Research Unit can help countries carry out labour market analysis, incorporate migration into labour force surveys, and design migration databases.
Recent activities undertaken by the regional office in Bangkok, for example, have included running a policy workshop on foreign workers in Malaysia and assessing the contribution of migrant workers in Thailand.