Improved Labour Migration Governance Programme

The ILO is working with the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to strengthen governance of foreign labour by building capacity in labour market policy making, improving inspection systems as well as implementing mechanisms for dispute resolution.

Migrant labourers work on a construction site in the UAE (© ILO)


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosts some eight million foreign labourers, equivalent to over 85 per cent of the country’s resident population. With Emiratis national mainly employed in the public sector, foreign workers constitute the bulk of private sector employment. Accordingly, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHR) faces a number of challenges relating to labour market governance, including labour migration management and inspection.

Following an ILO technical scoping mission to the UAE in 2014, three interlinked areas of mutual interest for collaboration were identified. Accordingly, this technical cooperation project was launched across the country in order to develop capacities in labour market policy making and evaluation, improve the labour inspection, combat forced labour and develop mechanisms to improve access to justice for foreign workers.


  • Provide policy makers with the tools and analysis capacity to orient labour market and labour migration policies, monitor progress against objectives as well as improve the effectiveness and efficiency of existing mechanisms;
  • strengthen the labour inspection system to provide the capacity to address the abuse of workers as well as occupational safety and health (OSH) issues; and
  • develop an effective individual labour dispute prevention and settlement mechanisms to improve access to justice for migrant workers.

Main Activities

  • Build the capacity of MoHR staff to design and reform labour market and migration policy;
  • institute reforms to produce an integrated labour inspection model considering the need to integrate human resources, staff capacity and avenues for collaboration;
  • build the capacity of relevant stakeholders to effectively prevent, identify and follow-up on cases of forced labour under a human-rights based approach;
  • develop a national labour inspection policy to ensure to improve working conditions and eliminate forced labour practices;
  • develop a national OSH policy to instil a culture of accident and injury prevention;
  • complete a functional capacity assessment to measure the capacity to manage individual labour disputes and offer access to justice to migrant labour; and
  • reform the individual dispute prevention and settlement mechanisms.


  • Improve the capacity of labour market policy making and evaluation;
  • the labour inspection system in the private sector is improved to allow the system to prevent and identify forced labour; and
  • dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms are developed to improved access to justice for migrant workers.