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Repository of Practices

Tunisia – Formation of a new body of inspectors for the recruitment industry

Primary GCM Objectives

Secondary GCM Objectives


GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2017 - 2021

Type of practice

Policy (including law, public measure)

Geographic scope



Sub Regions:


In 2017, the ILO conducted a “Diagnostic on the processes of worker recruitment in Tunisia”. The Diagnostic, which had been prompted by concern for Tunisian workers who had faced recruitment irregularities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), issued a number of recommendations towards improving labour recruitment processes for Tunisians seeking to work abroad. One of these recommendations called for legislative reform. A tripartite committee was convened by the ILO to consider the reform, and submitted, in 2019, the “Law on the organisation of the exercise of the activities of placement of Tunisians abroad by private agencies” (or Recruitment Law), which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 8 May 2019. The new law extends the State’s authority to deliver sanctions to recruitment agencies that do not comply with defined operational and procedural standards. The Ministry of Labour then approved the formation of a new inspectorate, to monitor and enforce the implementation of the Recruitment Law. A job description was accordingly defined and validated by relevant ministries. With ILO’s support, the Ministry of Labour then developed comprehensive guidance and tools to equip the new inspectorate, and a training program to build its capacity.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

Government of Tunisia

Partner/Donor Organizations

International Labour Organization - ILO

Benefit and Impact

The following has been achieved since the diagnostic:
• Strengthened legislation extending the state’s authority to regulate the activities of private recruitment agencies. Article 13 of the Recruitment Law clearly mentions that it is forbidden for private recruitment agencies to receive – directly or indirectly – any financial payments from prospective migrant workers; Article 11 of the Law spells out the essential elements that must be clearly mentioned in any employment contract;
• The creation of an inspectorate specifically dedicated to inspecting private recruitment agencies placing Tunisians abroad with a view to ensuring fair recruitment. Importantly, the new inspection unit has the authority to issue dissuasive sanctions against recruiters who commit irregularities/break the law;
• The Office of Emigration and Foreign Manpower has become a general directorate and several private employment agencies have submitted their files to the ministry to regularize their status.

The newly created inspection body is specifically geared towards monitoring private recruitment agencies, and has been given the authority to issue a range of sanctions, which gives it extra-ordinary powers to ensure compliance with the new Recruitment Law and principles of fair recruitment.

Several tools have been developed to support the capacity of this new inspection body:
- A self-evaluation checklist to enable inspectors to evaluate their competencies in 7 areas
- A standardised inspection process tool, enabling each inspector to carry out their inspection in a structured and sequential manner by pointing out all the checks to be carried out.
- An “inspectors booklet” bringing together all relevant training materials and aims to provide future inspectors without initial training, with theoretical and practical knowledge
- A guide on good inspection practices, which outlines the unified methodological approach to be taken during inspection visits, in line with the legislation and national and international regulations.

Key Lessons

As it was the first time in Tunisia that such material was being developed all materials had to be developed so the process required careful reflection and planning. The drafters carefully studied records of complaints to identify the pertinent abusive practices which jobseeker could encounter. Interviews were organised with key government officials to validate the cases presented in the training materials.

It was necessary to develop a process/tool to centralise the inspection reports at central level for review and collection by the relevant directorate, to ensure cases and complaints could be followed-up, and to generate pertinent statistics.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

In Tunisia, further work is required to standardize inspection missions, secure inspection data, ensure continuous capacity building in the case of staff turnover, and to continue to build the capacity of the new inspection body in terms of inspection techniques and soft skills.

The materials and training for labour inspectors should be regularly reviewed as operational systems are updated and as prioritise evolve and change.

ILO Nepal is considering dialogue with national stakeholders in view of replicating the Tunisian practice, and other countries may follow suit.


While much has been written and said about the need to better enforce recruitment regulations, little tangible progress has been made in the are of inspection of recruitment agencies. The practice in Tunisia is ripe for replication and/or adaptation in many countries of origin and destination seeking to have better oversight mechanisms for private recruitment agencies recruiting or placing migrant workers.

Date submitted:

11 February 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).