Promoting decent work through good governance, protection and empowerment of migrant workers: Ensuring the effective implementation of the Sri Lanka National Labour Migration Policy

It is essential that policy level work filters down to the local communities and is mainstreamed in various governance mechanisms.

Geographical Coverage: National coverage with concentration in high migration districts


It is essential that policy level work filters down to the local communities and is mainstreamed in various governance mechanisms. Through the experiences of the first phase of the project, it was observed that a system of safe migration dissemination at the local level needed to be introduced to compliment the Governments foreign employment service delivery decentralization to the District level. This was seen as essential to ensure the minimization of abuses and risks taken in the labour migration process. While guidelines for the recruitment agencies are essential there was also a need to strengthen the prosecution with regard to trafficking of persons within and outside of the country.

The existing grievance referral system required centralisation with the involvement of other agencies who also receive complaints regarding migrant workers and it is believed that a more coordinated effort among agencies will support to fill the gaps in the way grievances are reported as well as addressed. The project also sought to support the wider sharing of experiences and lessons at the regional and international level hence the Project Document for Phase II was developed taking all the above in to consideration through a consultative process.

The specific project objectives:

  1. To improve the access to information for migrant workers to ensure informed and safe migration.
  2. Improved access to justice for women and men migrant workers and their families by strengthening grievance addressing mechanisms, ethical recruitment practices and anti-trafficking measures.
  3. To support the effective reintegration of returnee migrant workers by addressing selected areas of the reintegration sub-policy to fulfill economic and psychosocial needs of primarily low skilled workers.
  4. To share project outcomes at local, national, regional and international levels among all social partners.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Government and stakeholders have capacity to provide adequate information to migrants and families of migrants at decentralized levels
  • Grievance and redress mechanisms are strengthened through more ethical recruitment practices and anti-trafficking measures
  • Stakeholders have capacity to promote reintegration measures
  • Sri Lankan government officials and civil society actors share experiences on the Sri Lankan model of migration governance in the region and share experience at global level.

Partner Organizations and Beneficiaries:

The lead government institution is the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare (MFEPW) and the key implementing partner, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) functions under its purview. Other key partners include the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations, the Ministry of External Affairs, Trade Unions; National Trade Union Federation Ceylon Workers Congress, Sri Lanka Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya, employers organizations; The Employers Federation of Ceylon, the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies and Civil Society organizations; the Action Network for Migrant Workers and the Community Development Services.

Beneficiaries are the decision makers at the policy level while the ultimate beneficiaries of the project include potential, current and returning female and male migrant workers and their family members.