The IRIS Standard forms the “technical standard” against which Labour Recruiters are assessed in the IRIS certification scheme. The scheme aims to provide confidence that an IRIS-certified Labour Recruiter’s processes and performance meet defined expectations in those areas that it can control and over which it may be expected to have an influence.
IRIS certification is based on periodic independent third-party audits of management systems control points/indicators (policies and procedures, training and communication, monitoring and governance) that are examined by the audit company to assess evaluate overall adherence to the IRIS Standard, applicable legislation in countries where Labour Recruiter operates and Labour Recruiter declarations.
The IRIS Certification Scheme focuses on international recruitment of migrant workers within labour migration corridors and labour supply chains. It is global and not limited to any country or sector and uses the IRIS Standard to verify Labour Recruiters’ conformity to ethical recruitment principles.
Why IRIS Certification is Important
The exploitation of migrant workers often begins at the recruitment stage when workers are charged predatory fees or misled about the job on offer. According to the latest global estimates of modern slavery, around 25 million people are victims of forced labour globally – with about half of all victims in debt-bondage.
When it comes to combatting modern slavery, many interventions focus on the employment stage – ie on how workers are treated in the factory or farm setting. While these interventions are important, they often come too late when it comes to tackling unethical recruitment and its consequences. Over the years, several companies have approached IOM asking for support in identifying ‘ethical’ labour recruiters – especially in countries of origin. However, it has been difficult to respond to these requests given the lack of a standard definition of ethical recruitment, as well as inconsistencies and gaps in how international recruitment is regulated.
What IRIS Certification Aims to Achieve
It is for these reasons that IOM and a coalition of like-minded stakeholders decided to develop the IRIS initiative in 2014. IRIS is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), as well as the Governments of Australia, Canada, and Sweden, and through private sector donations.
With the development of the IRIS standard, IRIS certification aims to provide a uniform definition of what ethical recruitment is and provide a program that certifies individual labour recruiters against that definition. This will allow recruiters to signal to stakeholders their commitment to ethical recruitment, and for stakeholders to have some assurance of the ethical practices of the labour recruiter. Ultimately, the certification program aims to build the capacity of and set a high expectation for labour recruiters in regards their social performance.
How IRIS Certification Aims to Achieve these Goals
IRIS will achieve the above goals through a multilayered approach.
- Capacity Building
IOM and partners will work with interested labour recruiters in building their capacity to both meet the standard’s expectations and to exceed them.
- Application and Certification
Second, interested and prepared labour recruiters will apply for IRIS certification, and where applicable, become certified against the standard and continually improve over the certification cycle.
- A Management Systems Approach
The introduction of a management systems approach to providing due diligence in both the upstream and downstream supply chain of labor recruiters will impact not only their own operations and controls, but also the expectations that their suppliers and contractors have to meet, thereby lifting the practice of actors all along the labour supply chain.
Take a step towards achieving IRIS Certification.
Are you ready to begin the certification process? Look through the resources on this page and website. Once you would like to begin an application, contact IRIS/IOM to start the IRIS capacity building/readiness program.