Online Discussion #5: Contract Substitution
Moderated by Céline Dermine, HOME (Singapore)
Contract substitution, in some contexts referred to as “reprocessing,” is a common illegal practice in migrant labour recruitment globally. It occurs through a range of modalities, but essentially entails a worker signing one contract in the country of origin and being forced to sign a new contract in the country of destination, often with conditions much worse than in the original contract. In some cases, migrant workers have signed contracts in their countries of origin for jobs that do not exist, and are placed with an employer on arrival or are forced into a situation of unemployment or informal employment. Due to the great investment migrant workers make to migrate for work, sometimes going into debt, they are often compelled to accept the substituted contract.
The Open Working Group on Labour Migration & Recruitment set Zero Tolerance for Contract Substitution as one of its campaign priorities. In this discussion, we aim to explore the different modalities of contract substitution, mechanisms available for complaints and redress, and recommendations for governments on how to address this serious concern.