Understanding patterns of structural discrimination of migrant and other workers in some countries of South and West Asia

This background paper reviews the literature that sheds light on the structural patterns of discrimination against migrant workers in some countries of South and West Asia. It also articulates recommendations that would help officials in UN agencies, international organizations, constituents and other civil society individuals and groups, while referring to the existing evidence of structural discrimination to support the application of international labour standards.

While references to international non-discrimination standards do occasionally surface in public discourses, this paper reviews evidence that discrimination in the world of work is not only characterized by socially deviant cases of discriminatory abuse, as reported in the media, but is rather intrinsic to the way various market economies and political systems are structured. This is manifested by indicators of privilege for some and indicators of deprivation for those at the bottom of the social and political hierarchies, including the interaction between both.