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Regulation of recruitment: A further proposal of the Italian delegation aimed at regulating the recruiting of bodies of workers for employment in foreign countries. The Conference recognised the need of protecting workers in the country of immigration against excessive importation of foreign workers, and it also recognised that courts of justice should protect both immigrants and nationals on & basis of equality.
On this question the Conference expressed the wish that the recruiting of bodies of workers should take place in the following conditions:
(1) that such recruiting for employment abroad might be made conditional on previous authorisation being given by the authorities of the State; (11 abstentions)
(2) that the country of emigration may decide that such recruiting can only be carried out through State controlled employment or emigration offices; (11 abstentions)
(3) that Conventions on this question may contain a condition that recruiting shall only be carried out after consultation with the employers' and workers' representatives in the two countries; (12 abstentions)
(4) that the employer may insist upon an examination from the point of view of health and skill of each emigrant; (11 abstentions)
(5) that each country of emigration and immigration may prevent the recruiting or the admission of foreign workers, if these workers would for any reason be harmful to the interests of the working classes in either country; (14 abstentions)
(6) that recruiting shall only take place if the employment contract contains specific mention of the general conditions of the contract; the contract should, in particular, contain a declaration of the employer undertaking to pay wages not less than those paid to nationals, and stating that there is no strike or lock-out in the undertaking to which the workers are to go; (11 abstentions)
(7) that employment contracts concluded in the country of emigration shall have full effect in the country of immigration, with the exception of clauses which are contrary to the laws and regulations of the country of immigration; (11 abstentions)
(8) that the obligations undertaken by the workers shall not give rise to any measure of compulsion nor to any administrative or judicial sanction except such as are admitted by the law of the country of immigration (10 abstentions).
A long discussion took place in the Section on a proposal concerning the need for international agreements to prevent clandestine emigration, which aimed at bringing the laws of countries of immigration into harmony with those of countries of emigration by forbidding the immigration of persons who have left their own country without authority.
The resolution adopted expressed the wish that all States should severely punish any person who encourages or facilitates a breach of the laws and regulations on this subject, and that agreements be arrived at by the countries of emigration, immigration and transit. Resolutions were also passed relating to the principles to be adopted in drawing up and applying contracts of employment, and to the desirability of countries of immigration respecting the religion and traditional customs of immigrants. Section IV.
Section IV commenced its work by a discussion of the proposed definition of the terms “emigrant” and “immigrant”. This gave rise to a long discussion.
The report presented by this Section to the Conference points out that the object of the resolution was to make more uniform the definitions of different countries in order to establish a basis of agreement among the countries and to facilitate the work of compiling and comparing migration statistics. Moreover, this resolution was in accordance with the Recommendation adopted unanimously by the Fourth Session of the International Labour Conference, which proposed that each Member of the International Labour Organisation should agree as far as possible with other Members on the adoption of a uniform definition of the term "emigrant”.
The proposed resolution did not satisfy the countries of immigration, which give to an immigrant who intends to settle permanently in the country certain privileges which are greater than those granted to temporary immigrants.
A text was ultimately prepared by the Argentine, French and Italian delegates, and this was finally adopted by the Conference.
A certain number of delegates made reservations. The Austrian and Swiss delegates were desirous of including intellectual workers in the definition; the German delegate thought the resolution was not sufficiently clear concerning the different categories of workers.
During the discussion the representative of the International Labour Office was invited to inform the Section as to the work done by the Office on this question. The explanation given showed that it has not been found possible so far to propose a satisfactory definition. Nevertheless the representative of the International Labour Office thought that the definition proposed by the 4th Section (and later adopted by the Conference) might become an important factor in the solution of the problem with which the International Labour Office is dealing. An Emigrants’ Charter.
Section IV also discussed the principles which should underly an Emigrants' Charter. In reply to objections raised by certain delegates that the proposed Charter dealt to some extent with legal and political questions, which they were not qualified to discuss, the Italian delegate said that although the Conference was a technical one whose function it was to express wishes, it was quite competent to examine all questions concerning emigration and immigration.
The principles finally adopted by the Conference for transmission to the Governments were as follows:
(1) The right to emigrate, though restrictions may be imposed for reasons of public policy or economic reasons or for the protection of the material and moral interests of the emigrants themselves; (12 abstentions)
(2) the right to immigrate, though restrictions may be imposed for economic and social reasons based in particular on the state of the labour market and the necessity of safeguarding the hygienic and moral interests of the country of immigration; (12 abstentions)
(3) emigration should be forbidden so far as possible to persons who are likely to be rejected in the country of immigration (7 abstentions)
(4) freedom of emigration and immigration should be recognised in the case of different members of the family of an immigrant already established in the country of immigration, unless there are personal reasons making this undesirable; (5 abstentions)
(5) the recruiting and transport of emigrants should be carried out in such a way as to guarantee the maximum protection to the emigrants; (3 abstentions)
(6) that the benefit of the protection mentioned above should be extended to emigrants in transit; (5 abstentions)
(7) that all States should severely punish persons who encourage or facilitate a breach of the laws and regulations concerning emigration; (7 abstentions)
(8) that the Governments of countries of emigration and immigration should help one another in putting a stop to the breach of any laws and regulations concerning clandestine emigration; (9 abstentions)
(9) that emigrants should enjoy civil rights on the same conditions as nationals and on a basis of reciprocity; (4 abstentions)
(10) that foreign workers should be admitted to all occupations on the same conditions as nationals unless this should be impossible for reasons of national defence or for reasons connected with the state of the labour market; (7 abstentions)
(11) that foreign workers should not be liable to special taxes; (6 abstentions)
(12) that foreign workers should be able to benefit from free legal assistance on a basis of reciprocity; (4 abstentions)
(13) that foreign workers and nationals should have equality of treatment in the application of the law on the protection of labour, workmen's compensation, admission to trade unions, social insurance, on the basis, so far as the latter is concerned, of reciprocity; (9 abstentions)
(14) that the work of protection carried on by private associations for the protection of emigrants should be facilitated. Colonisation.
The next question discussed concerned the fundamental principles in international agreements with regard to colonisation. They are as follows:
(1) that access to free land and State land should be facilitated by the encouragement of groups of immigrants or of colonisation undertakings;
(2) that capital raised in the country of immigration should be associated with capital from countries of emigration in setting up colonisation undertakings;
(3) that the savings of settlers should be safeguarded;
(4) that the moral and economic well-being of the settlers should be provided for by encouraging the admission of their families and by guaranteeing the right of individual liberty and of property in their dealings with colonisation undertakings; (one vote against, 10 abstentions).
Equality of Treatment.
With regard to the question of equality of treatment concerning workmen's compensation for industrial accidents, Section IV noted that as a result of recent laws and bi-lateral treaties the principle of equality of treatment between the national and alien workers was being adopted to a larger and larger extent.
An objection to dealing with this question was raised by the Polish delegate on the ground that it was on the agenda of the 1924 Session of the International Labour Conference. The Italian delegate replied that in view of his delegation, the Rome Conference could not pass over a question of this kind which was so important in connection with the situation of emigrants and that by passing a resolution of a general character it would in no way interfere with the discussion of this question at the International Labour Conference. The Italian delegation was rather of the opinion that such a resolution would to a certain extent facilitate the work of the International Labour Conference by giving precise indications as to the attitude of different governments on this question. Social Insurance.
A proposal was submitted with regard to measures for guaranteeing the continuity of the provisions for the social insurance of workers employed alternately or successively in two or more countries. The importance of this problem arises from the fact that as it is usually necessary under social insurance laws to pay contributions for a certain period before the worker has any right to benefits, it frequently happens that workers who often move from one country to another may pay contributions and still receive no benefits in spite of the fact that there may be equality of treatment for nationals and aliens in the country concerned.
The resolution adopted expresses the wish that international agreements be arrived at, providing for contributions made in different countries to be taken into consideration in arriving at the benefits due to a worker under social insurance laws and enabling the worker to benefit on a basis of reciprocity from premiums granted by each State to its own citizens in virtue of welfare and insurance laws (8 abstentions).
A resolution was also passed expressing the wish that agreement should be arrived at providing for the co-operation of the departments concerned in countries of emigration and immigration in order to ensure the payment of benefits to beneficiaries residing in another country (11 abstentions).
A resolution was passed expressing the wish that foreign workers should have the same rights as nationals to become members of Conciliation or Arbitration Committees for the settlement of disputes in which they are concerned. Private Associations.
Resolutions were proposed by the Committee of International Associations for the Protection of Emigrants, by other international associations and by Italian associations. They were classified and printed by the Italian Government and distributed to the delegates. A meeting of delegates was held during the Conference to discuss these resolutions which will, in due course, be transmitted to the governments represented at the Conference.
ANOTHER CONFERENCE PROPOSED
The Directing Committee discussed a resolution proposed by the Spanish delegation relating to the holding of a further conference of a similar character in 1927, and of the maintenance of the Directing Committee as a permanent body at Rome.
The British delegation proposed that the resolutions should be transmitted to the International Labour Office. This gave rise to a long discussion, as a result of which an amendment was proposed inviting the Italian Government to transmit the resolutions to the Governments represented at the Conference and to the existing International Organisations, so that the latter might take all necessary measures in connection with them.
After further discussion the Swiss delegation introduced a Resolution which was in the nature of a compromise. This resolution was finally adopted by the Conference. The text is as follows:
The Conference meeting in plenary Session having noted the practical utility of the initiative which the Italian Government has taken in proposing that a Technical International Conference should examine the problems of Emigration and Immigration,
*Of. Ind. and Lab. Information, Vol. IX, p. 481.
Considering that it is desirable that this initiative should not be interrupted,
Considering also that this initiative cannot in any way limit the competence of existing International Institutions,
(1) Invites the Italian Government to transmit a collection of the resolutions adopted by the present Conference to the Governments here represented and also to the International Organisations in order that the latter may take the necessary steps in connection with these questions within the limits of their competence; (2 abstentions)
(2) Recommends to the Governments concerned the following wishes:
(a) That a second International Conference on Emigration and Immigration should be held in the year 1927, in a country of immigration, the date and place being determined later: (20 abstentions)
(6) that the Directing Committee at the Rome Conference undertake the preparatory work in connection with the said Conference, to which the Com-, mittee will present a General Report concerning the extent to which the different Governments have applied the wishes adopted by the Rome Conference.
Until the next Conference the Committee will have its seat at Rome and will be presided over by the President of the Rome Conference;
(c) the Directing Committee is authorised to add to its number in such a way as to include the representatives of all States taking part in the present Conference and making application for membership of the Committee (18 abstentions).
TRANSMISSION OF RESOLUTIONS TO GOVERNMENTS
A final resolution was then voted, instructing the President of the Conference to draw up a final Act in which the Resolutions would be included in the Italian language, accompanied by a French translation. This final Act will be deposited in the Archives of the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and a certified copy will be transmitted to each of the Governments represented at the Conference.
At the final sitting of the Conference, MR. SOKAL, who represents the Polish Government on the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, said that the problems of emigration and immigration should be treated internationally. It is certain that it is the earnest desire of the peoples which created the League of Nations and the International Labour Organisation to co-operate with one another on these questions. The work of the International Emigration Commission (Geneva, 1921) and of the sections of the League of Nations dealing with hygiene, transit, and the traffic in women and children, had prepared the ground for the Rome Conference which, in its turn, will make it possible for those who deal with the question in the future to continue their work without starting once more to lay the foundations of the great undertaking which the Rome Conference was inaugurating.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE (Mr. de Michelis), in summing up the work accomplished, said that special importance should be attached to the discussions on the definition of the terms "emigrant” and “immigrant" which had taken place and which corresponded to the Recommendation of the Fourth Session of the International Labour Conference on this question. An important result had been obtained, due to the fact that 58 countries had taken part in drawing up the definition and to the fact that this definition will apply to a situation of fact and of law clearly outlined in the course of the Conference.
Mr. de Michelis also referred to the wish expressed by the Conference that an emigrants' code should be compiled and published and he hoped that this work would be done by the International Labour Office. By making it easy and practicable to study the different laws, this code would contribute more than was generally realised to greater uniformity in those laws.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE AND LEAGUE OF NATIONS
The Governing Body of the International Labour Office had a short discussion on the Rome Conference on 12 June 1924, several members desiring to have information concerning the work of that Conference and its influence on the activities of the International Labour Office. The representative of the Italian Government expressed the hope that the labours of the Rome Conference would facilitate the work of the Office. He informed the Governing Body that, iu accordance with decisions taken by the Rome Conference itself, the results of the Conference would be transmitted to the International Labour Office. It will be for the Governing Body, when it is in possession of the official texts, to consider at its next session the problems with which they deal from the point of view of the International Labour Office.
The Council of the League of Nations also considered the work of the Rome Conference at its sitting on 12 June 1924. Mr. Guani, who, as President for the time being of the Council, had represented the League of Nations at Rome, presented the resolutions which had been adopted there to the Council. He said that these resolutions would later on be communicated officially to the League. It was interesting to note that the Conference had decided to invite the Italian Government to transmit these resolutions to the international organisations, that is to say, the League of Nations, the International Labour Office and the International Institute of Agriculture, so that these organisations might take all necessary steps in connection with these questions within the limits of their competence. Mr. Guani considered this result to be extremely important because it maintains a contact with the international organisations and because the problems of emigration and immigration are of special importance at the present time both for the governments and the peoples. He hoped that the League of Nations would do useful work in this field in the future.
The Italian representative (Mr. Salandra) thanked Mr. Guani for his interesting report and said that in inviting the President and Secretary-General of the League to the Emigration Conference, the Italian Government had desired to give one more proof of its great esteem for the League of Nations.