Consultation on Perspectives of the Skills Sector for Labour Migration

As migration is now an integral part of development within which skills development, recognition and upgrading is given specific priority in the Governments’ Vision 2025 statement, ILO is facilitating a consultation with key skills and labour migration sector stakeholders from the government, private and non-government sectors to identify policy priorities and strategic areas of focus for the updated National Labour Migration Policy

1. Introduction & Background

The Safe Labour Migration Programme of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), supported by the Government of Switzerland, contributes to safe and regular migration, better protection of migrant workers and an increased contribution of migration to development. This is achieved through improved policies and legal frameworks to govern labour migration and better service provision to migrant workers and their families at the local level. The experiences of the interventions are expected to substantiate national, regional and global level policy dialogue on migration and development. The programme is implemented at national level through ILO, IOM, UNWOMEN and 8 international and local civil society partners at the District and local level.

The National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) of Sri Lanka was developed in 2008 and approved by Cabinet in 2009. Implementation of priority areas has been taking place since December 2010 by the Government led by the Ministry of Foreign Employment and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and stakeholders with funding support by Swiss Development Cooperation. Owing to the changes in the trends and dynamics of the sector, the policy implementation was reviewed in 2017 and is now going through a process of updating. It is expected that this exercise will enhance the delivery modalities of the policy and better reflect the present context and needs of migrant workers and their family members. Migration has become an integral part of national development. The governance of labour migration is now more prominently featured as a national, regional and international priorities and it is therefore timely to strengthen the policy and shape new strategic directions that can be operationalized through a time-bound action plan and a periodic monitoring and review process.

The International Labour Office (ILO) Colombo is implementing the project on “Promoting decent work through good governance, protection and empowerment of migrant workers: Ensuring the effective implementation of the Sri Lanka National Labour Migration Policy” under the overall Safe Labour Migration Programme and is the key policy-level partner of the programme. In this capacity, ILO is providing technical inputs and supporting the Ministry of Foreign Employment to conduct necessary analysis and consultation to update the current NLMP. Skills has been a key focus area of the Governments’ “Vision 2025 – A Country Enriched” and therefore it is timely to facilitate a consultation with all the stakeholders in the skills sector together with the labour migration sector to discuss and identify forward looking policy priorities and strategic areas of focus.

2. Main Objectives of the Consultation

The purpose of the consultation is to bring together the key stakeholders in the labour migration sector and the skills sector to:
  1. Share findings from the background papers on trends analysis, assessment of policy coherence international frameworks and SGDs, initiatives in the region etc
  2. Discuss policy priorities and strategic areas of focus that should be included in the new National Labour Migration Policy
  3. Identify inter-agency mechanisms that can take forward the identified priorities
The revised policy is expected to focus on ensuring Sri Lanka’s migrant workers are facilitated to achieve higher skills standards and work within decent employment conditions that provide wages that recognize such skills. They should also be able to deliver on the needs of the overseas labour market in order to remain competitive find appropriately paying jobs upon their return.

The discussions will focus on identifying strategic spaces for:
  • skills development for migrant workers
  • labour market analysis/assessment for foreign employment
  • skills enhancement and reintegration of migrant workers

3. Participants

The proposed participants include; officials of the Ministries of Foreign Employment, Labour, Skills Development and Vocational Training, National Policies and Economic Affairs, including representatives of TVEC, VTA, NAITA, UNIVOTEC, DTET, SLBFE, SLFEA, National Human Resource Development Council, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, EFC, National Chambers’ of Commerce, National Chamber of Exporters, ALFEA, Workers Organizations, Private sector consortium of the Construction sector, Hospitality sector and Care giving sector, independent skills professionals, CSOs supporting skills development such as Don Bosco, academic Institutions (National Institute of Business Management), Experts supporting the policy updating process, skills sector experts and practitioners.