Capacitating State institutions for safe, orderly and regular migration

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) facilitated a series of knowledge enhancement sessions in September 2021 to strengthen the Training of Trainers (ToT) unit of the State Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion & Market Diversification (SMFEP&MD). This is an activity of the Safe Labour Migration Project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), that aims to enhance monitoring, reviewing, and implementation of policies and strategic plans relating to labour migration.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) framework highlights the importance of capacitating state institutions, the private sector, international organisations, and other related institutions to meet international commitments. The Safe Labour Migration Project in Sri Lanka also attempts to enhance migration practices in line with the GCM.

Thus, the ILO and the Training of Trainers (ToT) unit of the State Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion & Market Development jointly organised a 3-day virtual knowledge enhancement series for 100 Foreign Employment Development Officers (FEDOs), 55 of whom are women. This included 35 master trainers and 25 newly appointed development officers representing each district, and another 40 development officers who have shown interest in the field of labour migration.

Several resource persons were also invited to discuss more broadly labour migration practices, laws and governing mechanisms, the role of state institutions, and to address enduring issues in labour migration as well as the way forward in a pandemic era.

Mr Mangala Randeniya, Deputy General Manager - Training of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), as one of the resource persons, presented some of the latest functions in the SLBFE website i.e.
  • Agent tracking system;
  • Real-time complaint tracking system; and the
  • Recognition for Prior Learning portal, which drew everyone’s attention.
Mrs Padmini Rathnayake, Consultant to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) discussed national, regional, and global commitments on safe, regular and orderly labour migration.

The feedback provided by the participants revealed that “this event was far beyond knowledge enhancement, had inspired them to seek new knowledge and dig into innovative modes of delivery to serve the community better amidst the pandemic”. Further, it was mentioned, “aside from subject knowledge, this series of training also highlighted some of the behavioural aspects that individuals should develop to present themselves as trainers and deliver training with confidence”.

Similar sessions are expected to be organised in near future to strengthen the ToT unit within the SMFEP&MD, which will in return enable FEDOs to address emerging trends and issues in labour migration with enhanced knowledge.

By capacitating state institutions through the Safe Labour Migration Project, ILO aims to promote decent work through good governance, protection, and empowerment of migrant workers while ensuring safe, orderly, and regular migration practices, in line with Sri Lanka DWCP 2018-2022 Outcome 3.2 (Labour market outcomes for low-skilled Migrants are improved and their vulnerability to exploitation reduced) and ILO P&B 2020-2021 Outcome 7.5 (Increased capacity of constituents to develop fair and effective labour migration frameworks, institutions and services to protect migrant workers).