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The Sri Lanka National Policy on Labour Migration is developed by the Ministry of Foreign Employment
Promotion and Welfare. Its aim is to articulate the State Policy regarding Sri Lankan citizens engaged in
employment in other countries and to recognise the significant contribution of all Sri Lankan migrant
workers to the national economy through foreign exchange remittances and other mechanisms. The
policy has the goals of developing a long-term vision for the role of labour migration in the economy,
enhancing the benefits of labour migration on the economy, society, the migrant workers and their
families, minimizing its negative impacts and, finally, working towards the fulfilment and protection of all
human and labour rights of migrant workers.
Over the years, Sri Lanka has instituted a number of programmes and schemes that cover issues of
governance in the process of labour migration, the protection and welfare of migrant workers and their
families. Most notably, the Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has been instituted since
1997, providing services and a regulatory framework for interested migrants. In 2007, this was brought
under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare (MFEPW). The
operations of these initiatives have been within the framework of principles of decent work, dignity of
labour and the protection of all human rights and freedoms of migrant workers and their families. Despite
these initiatives, Sri Lanka continues to face a number of challenges in the field of foreign employment
such as the vulnerability of workers who migrate under risky and unsafe conditions and the predominance
of low-remittance, low-skilled jobs mainly for women with heavy social costs for families. Thus, the
delicate balance between the promotion of foreign employment and the protection of national workers
abroad is a continuous challenge. The current national policy is designed to address this and other
Overall, the national policy aims to promote opportunities for all men and women to engage in migration
for decent and productive employment in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. It is
intended to do so through the institution of policies, laws, regulations, services and facilities for migrant
workers and their families. Special emphasis is laid on the development of skills as a main and effective
means of protection for migrant workers and their families. The policy is developed in three sections;
namely, governance of the migration process, protection and empowerment of migrant workers and their
families, and linking migration and development processes. Additionally, six appendices describe the
comprehensive framework and consultative process within which the policy was developed.

Periodical title


Number of pages



International Labor Organization (ILO)

Place published


File Attachments



Sri Lanka, National Policy on Labour Migration, the institutional framework, the legislative framework, the regulatory framework and the social dialogue and consultative framework

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 and Researchers

Regulation domains

Labour standards, Recrutement / placement agencies, Right to liberty, and Right to dignity

Geographical focuses

Sri Lanka

Spheres of activity

Law and Sociology