Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP): Helping Connect International Labor Markets

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The Problem

If more legal channels for labor mobility were opened,  the incomes of developing country citizens could increase fourfold while global GDP could as much as double. These potential gains make labor mobility one of the most powerful tools for poverty alleviation currently on the current development agenda.

Despite this fact, the international community provides little support to migrant sending and receiving countries struggling to connect potential migrants (who need jobs) to potential employers (who need workers). The available support often promotes international standards which may have little to do with local circumstances and needs.

This leaves many countries with critical unanswered demand for support in an era when labor mobility is increasing and desperately needed. Existing public and private multinational organizations face constraints from member governments and/or shareholders, preventing them from meeting this demand. This gap means missed opportunities for employers, workers, and origin and destination countries alike, as all parties stand to benefit from well-designed labor mobility channels.

Our Approach

Our new organization, Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP), aims to be the first organization which actively works to increase rights-respecting labor migration, with a long-term goal of unlocking billions in income gains from people filling needed jobs. To accomplish this, LaMP will  offer the following services:

  • Identification of new opportunities for cooperation, helping users identify and approach promising partners for labor mobility agreements;
  • Independent facilitation and assistance in the negotiation and registration of voluntary international labor mobility agreements;
  • Implementation support and dispute resolution for new and existing agreements;
  • Market making and standard setting of intermediaries providing international employment services through these channels; and
  • Evaluation of the benefits of the agreements, research into labor mobility, and promotion of expanded rights-respecting labor mobility through good-practice agreements.

LaMP will be plurilateral and adaptive in its approach: plurilateral with respect to the numbers and nature of parties to potential agreements, and adaptive in that we will not impose blueprint solutions but instead allow users to experiment and move forward with their own solutions.

What We Solve

LaMP will fill three key gaps, currently preventing countries from pursuing and entering labor agreements:

  • Coordination gaps: Countries aren’t in direct communication with potential partners and don’t have access to all relevant parties. Meanwhile, migration intermediaries lack transparency, which creates risks for jobseekers.
  • Technical gaps: Countries lack technical capacity and access to best practice. This has created huge variation in the design and negotiation of labor agreements, which undermines effective implementation. Meanwhile, migration intermediaries lack the scale and quality to facilitate increased labor mobility in a rights-respecting manner.
  • Diplomatic and political gaps: Countries are constrained politically in the negotiation and implementation of labor mobility agreements.

Next Steps

LaMP has received an 18-month startup grant to incubate at the Center for Global Development (CGD). Over the next 12 months, the implementation team will speak with key migrant sending and receiving countries, to understand the problems they currently experience and adapt LaMP’s design to meet demand. In addition, the team will conduct stakeholder consultations with technical experts, employers, workers, and civil society to map out the specific niche that our organization should fill.

For more information, please contact Rebekah Smith at rsmith@cgdev.org.