Migrant Workers Rights from a Human Rights Perspective


  • Padma Rani Manipal Institute of Communication,MAHE


Labour Rights, Human Rights, migrant workers, Covid-19, Human Rights violations


Migrant workers constitute 59% of the migrant population. Migrants contribute to growth and development in their place of destination, while the place of origin benefits from their remittances and the skills acquired. Migration is here to stay, it has multiple benefits, and it is a fundamental human right to work and move in freedom. The two main approaches to deal with migration-the migration management and the human rights approach. The human rights approach is based on international human rights law. Under international human rights law, all migrants are entitled to respect, protection, and full enjoyment of their human rights, regardless of their migration status. This paper will deal with the provisions for the protection of migrant labour's and examine the provisions by looking at cases of migrant labour. Also, examine the plight of migrant labour during Covid-19 in the light of travel restrictions, loss of employment and stigma.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Padma Rani, Manipal Institute of Communication,MAHE

Professor& Director

Manipal Institute of Communication 

Manipal Academy of Higher Education




AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL.2020. Gulf: Concerns regarding migrant workers’ rights during COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2020/04/gulf-concerns-regarding-migrant-workers-rights-during-covid19-pandemic/

Birchall, J. 2016. “Gender, Age and migration: An extended briefing.” Institute of Development Studies. https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/bitstream/handle/20.500.12413/10410/Gender%20Age%20and%20Migration%20Extended%20Briefing.pdf?sequence=1

Carlile, C. 2020. “Supermarkets call on Spanish Government to Act.” UK: Ethical Consumer.


Cholewinski, R. 2010. “Human Rights of Migrants: The Dawn of a New Era?” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 24:585-615.

Crush, J. 2019. “Rethinking the Medical Brain Drain Narrative.” Southern African Migration Programme. https://www.africaportal.org/publications/rethinking-medical-brain-drain-narrative/

Davidson, S. 1993. Human Rights. Philadelphia:Open University Press.

Gieseken, H. 2017. “The protection of migrants under international humanitarian law” International Review of the Red Cross 99 (1):121–152 - doi:10.1017/S1816383118000103

Gupta, U. N. 2004. The Human Rights: conventions and Indian Law. New Delhi:Atlantic Publishers and Distributors.

Hujo, K. 2019. “A global social contract: New steps towards a rights-based approach to migration governance?” Global Social Policy 19(1-2):25–28; - doi: 10.1177/1468018119849232 journals.sagepub.com/home/gsp

Hujo, K and Piper, N .2015. Multiple forms of Migrant Precarity: Beyond ‘Management’ of Migration to an Integrated Rights-Based Approach (UNRISD Event Brief) Geneva:United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

ILO .2016. “Promoting fair migration International Labour Conference, 105th Session.” Geneva:International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/--relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_453898.pdf

ILO .2021. “Work in the time of COVID Report of the Director-General International Labour Conference 109th Session.” Geneva : International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_793265.pdf

ILO .2015. “Global estimates on migrant workers Results and methodology. Particular focus on migrant domestic workers.” Geneva: International Labour Organisation. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_436343.pdf

International Organization for Migration and United Nations .2000. The Human Rights of Migrants.


Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Labour Organization and United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner .2015. Migration, human rights and governance Handbook for Parliamentarians N° 24.https://www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/migrationhr_and_governance_hr_pub_15_3_en.pdf

Lewis, J. R., & Skutsch, C. 2001. The Human Rights Encyclopedia. New York:ME Sharpe Reference.

Mekong Migration Network.2020. MMN Statement on the Impact of Covid-19 on Migrants in the Greater Mekong Subregion. http://mekongmigration.org/?p=14877

Seneviratne, K. 2012. “Migrant workers in Singapore demand justice.” Inter Press Service. February 12. http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/02/migrant-workers-in-singapore-demand-justice/

Seneviratne, K. 2020. “COVID-19: Should Economy Have Priority Over Migrant Workers' Health?” IDN-Indepth news . May 13. https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/opinion/3535-COVID-19-should- economy-have-priority-over-migrant-workers-health

Sookrajowa S.S and Pécoud A. 2019. “United Nations Migrant Workers Convention, In Ratuva S. (eds)” The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity. Singapore :Palgrave Macmillan.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2898-5_142

Sun, Melinda and Smith, Janie.D.2020. “COVID-19 in Migrant Workers: lessons from Singapore.” InSight, Medical Journal of Australia.https://insightplus.mja.com.au/2020/45/covid-19-in-migrant-workers-lessons-from-singapore/

UNDESA.2015. International Migration Report, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.


UNESCAP .2012. Situation Report International Migration in South and South-West Asia. https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/SDD_PUB_Sit-Rep-book.pdf

UNHRC .2006. Migration and Development: a Human Rights Approach, Report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.


World Bank .2017. How Migrants Can Help Countries Fill Labor Gaps: Learning from Policymakers. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2017/04/05/how-migrants-can-help-countries-fill-labor-gaps-learning-from-policymakers




How to Cite

Rani, Padma. 2021. “Migrant Workers Rights from a Human Rights Perspective”. ASIAN REVIEW 34 (2):63-85. https://so01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/arv/article/view/248750.



Research Articles