Asean leaders have agreed to step up efforts to provide better protection for migrant worker rights in the region. (Bernama photo)

MANILA: Asean leaders have agreed to step up efforts to provide better protection for migrant worker rights in the region.

Today, they are expected to ink the Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

Among the provisions of the landmark document are: upholding fair treatment of migrant workers, granting visitation rights by family members, and prohibiting the seizure of passports.

Other provisions include: prohibiting overcharging on placement and recruitment fees, regulating recruiters, and respecting workers’ right to fair salary and benefits, as well as to join trade unions and organisations.

According to a statement, the document was finalised by Asean senior labour officials during a retreat in Manila last August.

This follows a decade of discussions after the signing of the Cebu Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

However, like all Asean agreements, the implementation of the Asean Consensus, which is legally non-binding, would be subject to the respective laws of the member countries, the statement added.

It was reported that close to seven million – or two-thirds of about 10 million international migrants living and working in Asean – come from within the region.

Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam are seen as the main origin countries of migrant workers, while Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are the main “host” countries.

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