Sunday, August 5, 2012

Migrant workers vital for global hotel industry: ILO

Migrants are a valuable source of skills and labour for the hotel industry in both developed and less developed nations across the world, according to a report.
The report, 'Migrant workers in the international hotel industry,' by International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that the hotel industry, in turn, provides an important source of work for internal and international migrants seeking temporary or permanent employment opportunities away from their home communities.
The report addresses complex themes relating to migrant work and migrant workers in the international hotel industry, recognising that the experience of migrant workers — international and internal — their employers and the wider community varies greatly in different countries and cultures.
Migrant workers are to be found in the hotel industry of countries throughout the world, both within developed and less developed economies and the industry, to a greater or lesser extent, is dependent upon the source of skills and labour. "There is little doubt that the hotel industry provides important opportunities for migrant workers seeking short-term or permanent employment away from their home communities," it added.
At the same time, the employment and status conditions of migrant workers in the hotel industry are a matter of concern to stakeholders and the report assesses the evidence from studies across the development spectrum.
"The experience of migrant workers and their employers in the hotel industry varies greatly according to country, culture and context, the report said, adding that migrant labour, at varied levels, will continue to play a significant and often major role in the workforce of the hotel industry in most countries.
Internal migration will be of equal and, in some countries, greater significance than international migration in meeting the skills needs of the hotel industry, according to the report that has stated that the remittance income from migrant workers in the hotel industry contributes significantly to the national financial inflow of many countries.
"There is a clear ‘north-south’ divide in the roles and responsibilities of migrant employees in the hotel industry, with those from poorer countries working at the lower skills end of the workforce spectrum and those from developed countries taking senior managerial and technical positions," it added.
Similarly, there is a strong consensus in the hotel industry that migrant workers are vital to the operational viability of the sector and will remain so for the foreseeable future and migrant workers are seen to benefit the industry in terms of the skills and commitment they bring to the organisational culture of hotel businesses, according to the report prepared with the cooperation of International Hotel and Restaurant Association, and World Travel and Tourism Council .
Migrant workers are recognised for bringing a skills profile into the industry which is frequently unavailable in the local labour market and the hotel businesses benefit from the culturally diverse skills which migrant workers bring to their employment.
"Larger hotel companies operate effective cultural diversity policies which support and protect migrant workers they employ, but smaller ones operate on a much more personalised basis in the care and support they offer to migrant workers," it said, adding that migrant workers in some developed countries are significantly over-qualified for the working roles that they play in the hotel industry.
Migrant workers are disproportionately likely to remain in low skills and lower paid positions in the hotel industry, apart from promotion and career development opportunities for migrant workers are frequently limited and inaccessible.
However, migrant workers face particular vulnerabilities in terms of health and safety in hotel work and are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents, and many migrant workers do not see the hotel industry in terms of a long-term career commitment and seek to exit to other sectors of the host economy or to return home as a medium- to long-term goal, the report concluded.

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