He said creating a positive perception of migration for domestic work was critical as they remitted their dependants back home and thereby contributed to the socio-economic development and wellbeing of their households.
“Therefore, if effectively regulated and managed migration to urban areas for domestic could offer opportunities for poor migrants to provide essential services and also earn income to enhance the wellbeing of their families,” he stated.
Dr Leander was addressing a dissemination workshop to highlight the key findings of a research conducted on the Migration Industry in Ghana, dubbed: “Migrating Out of Poverty,” with funding from DFID.
He said movements across regions were increasing, yet, very little data existed on intra-regional migration.
Even the little data available, he said, only exposed the negative aspects, which did not give the accurate picture of the situation.
He reiterated the call for strengthening relevant state agencies both financially and technically to implement international and national laws on the protection of migrants working in domestic service.
He said the spatial inequalities in development must also be addressed urgently.
“Rural and broad-based regional development must be promoted to reduce spatial inequalities,” he said. “Such policies must promote small and medium-sized towns across Ghana as alternative centres to rural-urban migrants.”
He said the study was conducted in the Accra and Tema areas, with 88 migrants being interviewed across the target areas.
Out of that 26 were domestic workers.
The study, he said, revealed that four types of recruiting agencies are involved in facilitating migration industry in Ghana.
“One set is fully registered and licensed, another set is partially registered, thus registered with the Registrar General’s Department but has not obtained a license from the Labour Department to operate,” he said.
“The third and the fourth categories are relations, friends and families of migrants, and the faith-based Organisation who are neither registered nor have been licensed to operate.”
Dr Leander said migrants who get engaged through the latter categories normally received lower pay for their services because there were no contracts or monitoring of the migrants’ welfare.
He, therefore, called for institution and enforcement of legal instruments to regulate wages and work conditions in the informal sector, including the domestic work conditions in the informal sector.
“The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the Labour Department must be strengthened to monitor the activities and operations of recruitment agencies effectively,” he said.
“Government must also facilitate the ratification of ILO Convention 189 on Decent work for Domestic workers to protect domestic workers.”
The Government should also consider gender issues in developing policies and programmes to address vulnerabilities in domestic work.
Professor Mariama Awumbila, the Director of Migrating out of Poverty, Ghana, said the research also revealed that poor people did more internal migration than international migration and the ratio was currently 4:1.
However, policy interventions were not focused on that area.
She, therefore, urged students to contact the Consortium for data to help them on further studies. “We have lots of data that you can depend upon for research activities, our only demand is that you will credit us,” she added.
Mr Eugene N. Korletey, Chief Labour Officer, said Ghana had advanced on ratifying United Nation Convention 189, and expressed the hope that it would be ratified soon.
He also called for a legislation to protect domestic workers and pledge their commitment to that effect.
Other participants at the workshop, especially from the Trades Union Congress (Ghana), also called for formalising the informal sector to enable them to also bargain collectively.
Source: GNA/News Ghana