CMW/C/GC/1 protection to migrant workers and their family members not only when the migrants are actually working, but “during the entire migration process of migrant workers and members of their families, which comprises preparation for migration, departure, transit and the entire period of stay and remunerated activity in the State of employment as well as return to the State of origin or the State of habitual residence”3. 4. Depending on their administrative status under national immigration laws, some migrants are considered as documented or in a regular situation, while others are considered as non-documented or in an irregular situation. Just as the Convention delineates rights that apply to all migrant workers regardless of their status4, and then distinguishes further rights of migrants who are documented or in a regular situation5, this general comment shall refer to all migrant domestic workers, unless expressly indicated. 5. The terms “domestic work” or “domestic worker” have not yet been defined in any international instruments. However, drawing on common elements found in definitions set out in national legislation6, the Committee notes that the term “domestic worker” generally refers to a person who performs work within an employment relationship in or for other people’s private homes, whether or not residing in the household. 6. The Committee considers that migrant domestic workers are included in the term "migrant worker" as defined in article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention and that any distinction made to exclude migrant domestic workers from protection would constitute a prima facie violation of the Convention. 7. Whereas many of the human rights issues and concerns identified in this general comment are relevant to all domestic workers, several issues and concerns are specific to the situation of domestic workers who are migrants. Generally, migrant domestic workers are at heightened risk of certain forms of exploitation and abuse. At the heart of their vulnerability is isolation and dependence, which can include the following elements: the isolation of life in a foreign land and often in a foreign language, far away from family; lack of basic support systems and unfamiliarity with the culture and national labour and migration laws; and dependence on the job and employer because of migration-related debt, legal status, practices of employers restricting their freedom to leave the workplace, the simple fact that the migrants’ workplace may also be their only shelter and the reliance of family members back home on remittances sent back from the domestic work. Women migrant domestic workers face additional risks related to their gender, including genderbased violence. These risks and vulnerabilities are further aggravated for migrant domestic workers who are non-documented or in an irregular situation, not least because they often risk deportation if they contact State authorities to seek protection from an abusive employer. law or specific agreements; students and trainees; and seafarers and workers on offshore installations who have not been admitted to take up residence and engage in a remunerated activity in the States of employment. Moreover, refugees and stateless persons are only included under the Convention if such application is provided in national legislation (art. 3(d)). 3 Convention, art. 1. 4 Convention, Part III. 5 Convention, Part IV. 6 2 See ILO (2009), “Decent Work for Domestic Workers”, report IV(1), International Conference, 99th session 2010; José Maria Ramirez-Machado, Domestic Work, Conditions of Work and Employment: A Legal Perspective, ILO (2003).

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