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Full Paper: Labor Migration From Colombo Process Countries Good Practices, Challenges and Ways Forward




Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias and Christine Aghazarm


Since 2005, the Colombo Process (CP) Member Countries have taken concrete, proactive steps to manage labour migration by, for example, amending existing regulations or adopting new legislation,
creating new government structures dedicated to managing labour outflows, signing bilateral
agreements (BAs) and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with key destination countries and
launching innovative programmes and activities at various levels of government.
Despite successes in key areas, challenges remain, especially surrounding implementation. There
is often a gap between the stated aims of policy measures and their application on the ground,
particularly in four key areas: dissemination of information, the recruitment process, welfare support
to migrants (at all stages of the migration cycle) and maximizing the benefits of labour migration.
Indeed, policymakers in CP Member Countries face a formidable task: creating efficient and
equitable migration systems that benefit labour migrants and their families while contributing to
long-term economic growth and development in both source and destination countries.
Governments have many options as they work to meet these and other challenges. This brief
highlights 10 potential areas of focus, such as (1) improving pre-departure orientation programmes,
(2) developing and harmonizing recruitment regulations between origin and destination countries
and (3) enhancing welfare support at destination. Success requires serious investments in building
capacity to fill critical information gaps. To this end, we recommend a three-pronged strategy:
developing knowledge based on policy-relevant research, formalizing practical policy dialogues and
forging meaningful partnerships among the major actors in labour migration.

Periodical title

International Organization for Migration (IOM)



Number of pages



International Organization for Migration (IOM)

File Attachments



policy, recruitment process, welfare support to migrants, benefit of labor migration

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, Dancers, and Other

Content types

Policy analysis and Support initiatives

Target groups

Policymakers, Researchers, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Regulation domains

Employment insurance, Social security, Remittances and co-development programs, and Recrutement / placement agencies

Geographical focuses

Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan

Spheres of activity

Economics and Law