OTL News

TFHI awards OTL certification to two agencies in Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal – On February 23, 2024, The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI) hosted an induction ceremony awarding OTL Certification to International Manpower Recruitment (IMR) and Aakarshan International (Aakarshan), specifically for the Nepal to Malaysia corridor. Both agencies demonstrated conformance to all OTL standards, having the institutional structures and management systems to support ethical recruitment, and the capability and proof of practice to recruit for and deploy to the employer-pays market in Malaysia.

IMR joined OTL in January 2023 and Aakarshan in June 2023 and will be continuously monitored for two years, throughout certification validity, through worker interviews and surveys also known as the OTL Integrity System.

TFHI also belatedly recognized FSI Nepal for participating in the OTL pilot in 2017 and achieving OTL Level 3 Certification for the Nepal to Afghanistan and Nepal to Dubai corridors.

The induction ceremony followed training and consulting sessions for seven agencies undergoing corrective action.

10 Nepal agencies complete initial OTL components

January 11, 2024 - The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI) is developing an accessible list of agencies that brands and companies can use to develop their own “preferred labor supplier list” for their supply chain partners. Ten agencies have completed initial On The Level (OTL) program components including an assessment and are implementing corrective actions to comply with OTL standards. One agency, International Manpower Recruitment (IMR), has completed a second audit and has qualified for certification.

The OTL list will be shared among brands and companies that have added their recruitment agencies to be vetted for the list, and each participating company and recruitment agency becomes part of what TFHI envisions will be a growing community of ethical recruitment practitioners.

To qualify for certification, agencies must demonstrate conformance to OTL standards, including OTL’s definition of recruitment fees and costs. For IMR and other agencies aspiring to be certified, they must also consent to continuous monitoring through worker interviews and surveys also known as the OTL integrity system. Furthermore, agencies must meet OTL’s requirements for pre-departure training including allowing the OTL team and/or partners to introduce workers to the OTL integrity system.

Companies that use recruitment agencies in countries like Nepal play a huge role in an agency’s decision to improve  the quality of its recruitment services. Recognition for ethical practices is most useful for a recruitment agency when it brings business opportunities from companies that pay for recruitment costs. Increase in business is the key motivator for recruitment agencies to embrace ethical practices and leave behind more profitable but unethical (even illegal, in some cases) business models. It strengthens the business case for ethical recruitment when business begins to move towards vetted ethical labor suppliers and helps to mainstream ethical practice throughout the industry. 

Brands that urge their manufacturing and materials suppliers to pay for recruitment costs and to use only vetted ethical agencies are also key to growing the ethical recruitment market. Using systems like OTL as an integral element of its supplier due diligence, supply chain monitoring, and decision criteria on whether a company should continue to work with a labor supplier or not drives change in recruitment practices.

Advancing Ethical Recruitment in Global Supply Chains: Alpha World Link and International Focus Lead the Way

TFHI's On The Level Certification Program for recruitment and labor agencies marks a significant milestone in promoting ethical recruitment practices among Private Recruitment and Employment Agencies (PREAs).

Bangkok, Thailand - On May 10, 2022, TFHI, The Fair Hiring Initiative (TFHI) hosted an induction ceremony awarding OTL Certification to Alpha World Link and International Focus, two recruitment agencies from Myanmar that enrolled in the OTL program in 2019. These agencies' attainment of the OTL Certification for the Myanmar to Thailand corridor demonstrates their commitment to ethical recruitment practices and also serves as a testament to their resilience in overcoming the challenges of a global pandemic and political disruptions.

The significance of the OTL certification program extends beyond individual agencies. It plays a vital role in raising awareness of ethical recruitment practices within global supply chains. By mapping an easily accessible list of agencies that adhere to the employer pays principle and other  good practices, OTL helps migrant workers identify trustworthy agencies using a set of recruitment standards developed specifically to promote fair recruitment practices.

“We call on companies' decision makers to adopt and enforce this model and work only with labor suppliers who commit to meeting legal requirements and social standards, such as OTL standards,” said Daw Wint Wint Aung, Managing Director of Alpha World Link. 

Expanding on the same sentiment, U Nyi Lin Htet, Marketing Director of International Focus added, "It's important for the agencies to have the support of employers and for the employer to keep an open mind when negotiating service agreements."

These statements highlight the significance of collaboration between agencies and employers in order to establish practices that benefit all stakeholders, especially workers. By emphasizing the need for employer support,  the agencies underscore the importance of fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.