Recognising contributions of migrant workers: Strengthening safe labour migration processes in Sri Lanka

An event to recognise the contributions of migrant workers and to emphasise the need to strengthen safe labour migration processes will be held in Colombo on 25th February 2020.

Sri Lanka’s migrant workers are a vital part of the economy with over 200,000 Sri Lankans emigrating for work annually, contributing to approximately 2 million Sri Lankans working overseas. Private remittances sent to Sri Lanka in 2017 were equivalent to US$ 7.19 billion (approximately 63% of total export earnings and 9% of GDP). Recognizing the importance of the labour migration sector, the Government of Sri Lanka has prioritized labour migration in numerous national policy documents, including the Vision 2025 strategy, the National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP), Sub- Policy and National Action Plan on Return and Reintegration of Migrant Workers, and the Migration Health Policy, and is given prominence in the manifesto of the recently elected President Gotabaya Rajapakse.

Closely aligned to these Government priorities, in 2010 a Safe Labour Migration Programme (SLMP) was initiated to increase the development benefits of migration by contributing to decent working conditions and improved wellbeing of migrants and their families. The programme in its third phase of implementation provides experiences and lessons learnt for national, regional and global migration policy dialogues, which shape the global agenda on Migration and Development.

Public sector officials, civil society and trade union members, representative from the private sector, including financial institutions, licensed foreign employment recruitment agencies and employers based in Sri Lanka will participant at the event on 25th February at the Jaic Hilton Hotel in Colombo. Returned migrant workers and their family members will also be present and share their migrant experiences.

Particularly significant is the ‘market place ’which will showcase products of returned migrants. The ‘market place’ will also provide a space for interaction and dialogue between migrant workers and a diverse range of actors working on labour migration at the national and regional levels