On The Level Principles and Standards

On The Level is a private recruitment and employment agency certification / recognition program, supported by a comprehensive framework of cross-border recruitment principles and standards.

The OTL Principles and Standards of Ethical Recruitment is the core of the program and epitomizes the embodiment of ethical practices against which agencies undergo assessment for certification. Each Principle is accompanied by a set of Standards that outlines the prescribed practices that aspiring agencies must faithfully adhere to, in their undertaking for the OTL certification. These guiding principles and standards establish a robust foundation, ensuring that agencies operate with integrity and uphold the highest ethical standards throughout their recruitment endeavors.


The agency and its staff shall comply with all relevant legislation, statutory and non-statutory requirements and official guidance covering Private Employment and Recruitment Agencies.


The agency shall ensure that workers are given accurate information at the time of recruitment.


The agency shall not charge directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to jobseekers and workers, for the services directly related to temporary assignment or permanent placement.


The agency shall act diligently in assessing work risks in order to promote the safety of workers in the workplace.

Non-Discrimination and humane treatment

The agency shall establish working practices that safeguard against any unlawful or unethical discrimination or inhumane treatment.

Respect for workers' right

The agency shall promote workers’ rights by ensuring equitable, objective, and transparent principles are applied in workers’ contracts, and workers maintain freedom of movement and association.


The agency shall ensure confidentiality in all of their dealings.

Professionnal knowledge and quality service

The agency shall work diligently to develop and maintain a satisfactory and up-to-date level of relevant professional service.

Fair Competition

The agency shall assure mutual relations based on fair competition.

Management system

The agency shall observe the highest principles of ethics, professional conduct and fair practices in dealing with agency workers as well as other relevant stakeholder and shall conduct their business in a manner designed to enhance the operation, image, and reputation of the industry.


The agency has an updated business license or permit to operate as a Private Recruitment and Employment Agency for all countries of operations.

Where the agency designates or works with partners or agents in foreign countries to recruit, select and hire workers on its behalf, such business partners or agents have updated business licenses or permits to operate in those countries.

The agency only works with legitimate employers or principals that are registered and licensed to operate in the country where the job-site is located.

The agency has a written agreement with the employer or principal for each job order that stipulates legal compliance and meets relevant On The Level Standards.

The agency ensures that its policies and procedures are in compliance at all times with existing legislation or guidelines covering Private Recruitment and Employment Agencies and required by the governments of countries where the agency operates, including countries where workers are sourced, recruited, and deployed for employment. 

The agency monitors the activities of its sub-agents to ensure that they operate in accordance with applicable legal regulations and the agency’s policies and procedures.

Where the agency operates branches or sub-branches, these are legally allowable and they follow the agency’s policies and procedures.

The agency hires or deploys only persons that are of legal age in the country of employment.

The agency takes all requires measures to facilitate and ensure that successful candidates hired for foreign work have legal and appropriate work documents to exit the country of origin and enter into and work at the country of destination.

The agency has not been cited, suspended, otherwise sanctioned for non-compliance with any laws in any country of operations, including countries where workers are sourced, recruited, and deployed.

The agency ensures that its main suppliers, contractors, and other collaborators are properly licensed to operate and they comply with the legal regulations and the relevant On The Level Standards.

The agency provides jobseekers with accurate job information at the time of recruitment in a language the jobseekers can understand.

All workers have a contract of employment, signed by the employer and the worker, written in the worker’s native language.

Where any changes are made to a contract of employment after the worker has signed it, the agency has an effective mechanism to ensure that the changes are made with the prior and full knowledge and consent of the worker, where such consent was made voluntarily and without threat of penalty, and that the workers' contractual rights are protected.

The agency does not charge fees or costs to jobseekers or workers consistent with the definition of “free-of-charge service to jobseekers or workers under this Principle.

For agencies that charge recruitment fees and expenses to jobseekers and workers, the charges are consistent with the “Fees Definition” for fee-charging agencies under this Principle.


The agency only engages with employers that share the principle “free-of-charge” service to jobseekers and workers.

There is a means of informing workers at the point of recruitment, whether in job advertisements or at recruitment centers, details of the agency's recruitment fees policy.

Agents and sub-agents engaged by the agency to perform recruitment-related activities earn only from the agency and not from jobseekers or workers. All recruitment costs incurred by agents and sub-agents in the performance of recruitment-related activities are paid by the agency.

The agency does not keep jobseekers’ or workers’ financial documents at any time and for any reason.

The agency does not provide workers or applicants with personal loans, nor does it formally or informally direct workers to private lending companies, the amount and repayment terms of which could lead to forced labor or debt bondage.

The agency does not require jobseekers or workers to post a bond, whether in cash or in kind, even if allowed by law.

Where the agency provides amenities to workers and workers are required to pay, such payment is required by law, should not exceed market charges or be set at rates that can be construed as excessive, should not be in aid of earning a profit at workers’ expenses, or of efforts to earn back placement fees or other fees paid by the agency or employer for worker recruitment.

There are contingency procedures in place in case of verified reports of non-conformance to the free-of-charge provision of service principle.

The agency has a working understanding of the risk profile concerning any and all jobs, industries and countries for which they recruit or place workers for temporary assignment or permanent work.

Contracts with employers or principals stipulate that where there are legal protections for vulnerable workers, the employer commits to implementing the protections.

The agency ensures that appropriate protective restrictions and reasonable provisions for vulnerable workers are in place.


For Destination Country Agency only.

The agency ensures that all legally required insurance in the destination country are included in the employment contract and explained to workers in their native language before deployment.

Accommodation provided for workers is safe, secure and clean, and has all valid and updated permits and licenses in accordance with legal regulations.

Transportation provided for workers is safe and reliable.

The agency does not discriminate against any applicant or worker on the grounds of religion, race, sex, age, sexual orientation, political beliefs, union affiliation, physical or mental disability, cultural practices, nationality, ethnic origin, civil status, or pregnancy status, in its recruitment, selection and hiring practices, or in the conduct of any other services that the agency may provide to its clients such as the administration of disciplinary practices, the selection of workers for promotion, re-contracting or transfer higher-value jobs or operations, and other services.

There is no harsh or inhumane treatment, including violence, harassment and corporeal punishment, of jobseekers, workers, or of the agency’s own staff.

The agency guarantees equal pay for equal work and fair treatment in the workplace.


For Destination Country Agency who is also the employer.

The agency only conducts medical screens or tests to ensure fitness to work.

The agency does not conduct pregnancy screening or testing at any time, except where legally required, and when screening is conducted results are used solely for legal or official purposes.

The agency ensures that workers who become pregnant during employment receive benefits entitled to them and assists, if required, in their repatriation.


For Destination Country Agency only who is also the employer.

Base wages specified in employment contracts meet, at minimum the relevant legal or industry minimum wage or customer requirements, whichever is higher, in their country of employment.

Workers’ wages, including overtime, are accurately computed, cover all hours worked, and are paid to workers on time at intervals designated by law or as stipulated in workers’ contracts.


For Destination Country Agency who is also the employer.

Employment contracts specify the hours of work for the job to be undertaken, including regular work hours, requirements for overtime, especially mandatory overtime, break periods, including prayer breaks, and at least one day off in every seven.

Benefits specified in employment contracts are, at the minimum, in consonance with the mandatory benefits offered to workers in the country of employment, including holidays, leaves, medical and health insurance, access to medical facilities, and overtime premiums. Additional benefits for foreign workers, such as food and accommodations, as well as corresponding deductions for mandatory benefits, are also specified.

Any deductions made from workers’ wages will be limited to benefits and contributions that are mandated by law and are remitted promptly and with proper documentation to appropriate government agencies.


For Destination Country Agency who is also the employer.

Remittances are made with the worker’s full consent, workers decide the amounts to be remitted, and remittance charges to workers are based on the actual cost of the transaction.


For Destination Country Agency who is also the employer.

The agency does not require jobseekers or workers to contribute to any forced savings program.

Employment contracts allow workers to move with reasonable freedom within the work environment and in their living accommodation.

Employment contracts uphold workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The agency does not keep workers’ personal documents, except when required for submission for processing by relevant official authorities.

The agency maintains procedures for managing personal information and documents received from its own employees, as well as from jobseekers and workers, that control the issuance of confidential or personal information to third parties.

The agency respects the right of its employees, as well as jobseekers and workers, to not disclose information that is protected by constitutional or civil laws.

The agency provides regular training for its staff, agents and sub-agents to ensure that these Principles and Standards are met.

The agency includes implementing these Principles and Standards in its performance management system for employees.

The agency has a functional sourcing plan that meets the ethical requirements of the OTL Principles and Standards.

The agency has systems and procedures to receive and review basic documentation requirements submitted by workers in order to evaluate their authenticity and currency.

The agency has developed and uses interview tools and guidelines for basic screening of applicants that are objective and non-discriminatory to credibly and effectively vet workers’ skills, knowledge and attitude according to a given job description.

The agency meets deployment timelines and ensures workers report to work as scheduled.

The agency conducts pre-departure training for workers in the workers’ native language to ensure that workers are ready and fully informed to take up the job.

The agency provides workers with safe and legal means of transportation from their point of origin to the jobsite and ensures proper hand-over of workers to the client-employer’s representatives.

The agency ensures workers receive a job orientation in a language they understand and are provided the company’s employee handbook.


For Destination Country Agency only.

The agency facilitates the worker’s return to the origin country and assists in the processing of exit clearances in the destination country.


For Destination Country Agency only.

The agency ensures that victims of trafficking as a result of its practices, or those of its agents or sub-agents are provided adequate access to remedy.

The agency has a gift policy that prohibits the receipt by the agency, its staff, agents and sub-agents, of gifts in cash or in kind from job applicants and workers, and prohibits or sets reasonable limits on gifts that may be received by its staff, agents, or sub-agents from employers-clients, government officials, institutions, or other individuals and institutions, that the agency transacts with on a regular basis.

The agency’s owners, investors, directors, officers and senior staff, do not own or have a significant financial or other interest in businesses that might create conflicts with the agency’s delivery of services.

The agency does not make it a requirement for selection or employment that jobseekers or workers purchase goods or services from companies or businesses recommended by the agency or that are owned in whole or in part by the agency, its owners, investors, directors, or senior staff.

The agency does not engage in or encourage false advertising regarding any aspect of its services, either to employers or to the jobseekers that it recruits and hires.

The agency immediately informs applicants when a job order has been cancelled.

The agency has a Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct.

The code applies to all actors and parties in the chain of recruitment, including agents and sub-agents in countries of operations.

The code is supported by an institutional structure and written procedures for enforcement, monitoring, and reporting.

The agency has a mechanism in place that ensures that performance issues and progress on compliance to the code are discussed in management reviews and made an integral part of the agency’s continuous improvement process.

There is a confidential and safe means for employees, partners, agents and sub-agents, clients, and workers to report any grievances they have arising from their engagement with the agency. 

The code provides protection for whistle-blowers to ensure protection of identity and non-retaliation, including prohibitions on actions that could lead to retaliation.