Guidance note: Using Migrant Welfare Funds as a social protection instrument – potential and limitations?

International migrant workers constitute nearly 5 per cent of the global labour force and are an integral part of the world economy. While labour migration presents great potential both for individuals and more largely for the economies of the recipient and origin countries, it is also accompanied by numerous challenges and decent work deficits, including a lack of access to social protection. This guidance note aims at providing policy guidance to countries of origin who wish to extend social protection to their nationals working abroad and their families, and that are exploring the possibility of establishing a Migrant Welfare Fund for that purpose. For countries that are considering establishing such a Fund, it puts forward considerations that should guide their design and practical implementation with respect to social protection. Finally, the note also provides some guidance with respect to the costs and fees of the other services and benefits provided by MWFs, but it will not address in detail whether MWFs are a suitable option for the purpose of addressing the other risks that migrant workers may face during the migration cycle.