The Nigerian Government has launched the revised National Policy on Labour Migration (NPLM) 2020, in a bid to improve migration governance and management in a way that protects Nigerians against exploitation as migrant workers.
As a source, transit and destination country, managing migration has remained a priority for the government which has taken a firm stance against slavery and exploitation.
Unveiling the ninety-five-page document in Abuja Nigeria’s capital on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment Kachollom Daju, said managing migration represents a growing challenge as Nigeria occupies an important position in the global migration landscape.
“Formulation and implementation of labour migration policies and processes globally is a shared responsibility which requires the participation of all stakeholders to ensure efficacy and success”, she said.
The revised national policy which was approved by Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2022, is divided into seven parts that include chapters that broadly illustrate the Governments’ policy aspirations in certain key areas.
Daju said one of the benefits of having a functional and implementable migration policy is to promote safe, fair regular labour migration and to harness its benefits for national development.
Some of the new features of the revised policy relate to safeguarding the rights of migrant workers, including a gender-responsive approach to labour migration and grievance and justice mechanisms.
It also seeks to combat the increasing challenges of irregular migration, exploitative practices, forced labour, smuggling and human trafficking.
The Nigerian Government first launched the NPLM document in 2014, with a vision to establish an effective, responsive, and dynamic governance framework for labour migration in the country.
The policy provided for a periodic review, which informed the initiative led by the Ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and was based on an analysis report on the extent of its implementation.
The Permanent Secretary said the 2014 edition of the Policy recommended that the Policy be reviewed every three years by the Technical Working Committee on Labour Migration Governance and Management in Nigeria.
She said this was based on “the need to incorporate emerging global migration dynamics and national realities on labour migration to further strengthen labour migration governance in Nigeria”.
Daju also appreciated the German Development Cooperation and the International Labour Organisation for their support towards the development of the revised policy.
The Country Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Vanessa Phala, commended the Nigerian government for its recent approval of the amendment of the labour laws and ratification of ILO Conventions on Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions), Private Employment Agencies and Violence and Harassment.
This according to Phala demonstrates the commitment of the Government towards attaining the objectives of the Abidjan Declaration towards shaping the Decent Work Agenda across the continent, including through promoting fair and effective labour migration governance.
“Suffice to state that these frameworks embody provisions of various International Labour Standards aligned to decent work agenda, including through normative provisions that seek to ensure adequate safeguard mechanisms for migrant workers in a bid to facilitate well-functioning labour markets,” she said.
Nigeria is currently experiencing a brain drain, popularly known as “japa” in Yoruba, due to highly qualified migrant outflows in critical sectors such as Health, IT and Entertainment.
Yet, many Nigerian migrants are not treated as expatriates, but end up doing menial jobs even though they might have graduate degrees or other qualifications.
Nigeria’s revised National Policy on Labour Migration is focused on protecting the dignity and security of Nigerians who migrate from the country in search of greener pastures.