Decent work, protection and well-being for migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka

The programme aims to maximise the benefits of migration for sustainable development in Sri Lanka. It will support government institutions and other actors in implementing policies related to fair and ethical recruitment, skills development and provide reintegration support for returning migrants in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. A special focus is placed on elevating migrant workers’ voices in advocacy. The intervention creates entry points to engage with the newly elected government in Sri Lanka. 

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Sri Lanka
Migrazione della manodopera
Migrazione in generale (aspetti relativi allo sviluppo e partenariati)
01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024
CHF  4’650’000
Contesto Labour migration is a key contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy. It also provides the rural poor with economic perspectives and reduces domestic employment pressure. In 2019, remittances flows amounted to 6.7 billion USD, a volume making up seven per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Currently, two million Sri Lankans work overseas, primarily in the Gulf States, where low and semi-skilled workers in the domestic, construction and hospitality sectors are high on demand. While labour migration has opened up opportunities, it also poses serious protection challenges such as fraudulent hiring practices, illegal wage deductions and excessive working hours. In addition, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in mass layoffs and increased the vulnerabilities of migrant workers, many of whom are stranded in the Countries of Destination. Over 40,000 migrant workers are awaiting repatriation from the Gulf States and need reintegration support.  
Obiettivi Sri Lankan women and men migrant workers and their families have improved their well-being and contribute positively to society and their country
Gruppi target

Primary: Women and men migrant workers and their families of all ethnic groups, relevant Government authorities, vocational training institutes and civil society.

Secondary: Licensed Foreign Employment Agents, private sector (i.e. employers and financial institutions), Trade Unions. 

Effetti a medio termine

Outcome 1
The Government of Sri Lanka implements policies securing the rights and protection of migrant workers and their families

Outcome 2
Migrant workers societies and network support their communities and influence policies

Outcome 3
Women and men migrant workers access gender-responsive skills qualification and have increased employability in local and global economies


Risultati principali attesi:  

The new phase will: (1) Capacitate government institutions to effectively implement labour migration policies and overall governance structures in the sector; (2) Mobilise migrant workers societies composed of returning migrants to provide community-support and to speak up for their rights; (3) Increase interest and access for skilled (foreign) employment.

Key outputs:

-    Foreign Employment Ministry’s systems
     and representatives are capable to review,
     coordinate and monitor efficient migration
     related policies.  

-    The Government of Sri Lanka develops
     actionable commitments in labour migartion
     coherent with regional policies and

-    Women and men migrant workers receive
     peer support from migrant worker societies
     and networks.

-    Migrant workers’ contributions in policy
     dialogue is strengthened at district,
     national and regional level.

-    Women and men migrant workers access
     occupational guidance on skills development
     and (self-) employment.

-    Vocational Training Instructors understand
     (foreign) employer worker requirements
     and Employers are aware of benefits of hiring
     Sri Lankan migrant workers. 

Risultati fasi precedenti:  

The Sri Lanka Labour Migration Programme has supported the implementation of the National Labour Migration Policy putting particular emphasis on the provision of specialised services for migrant workers at the district level (pre-departure, protection and justice services).

-        Important advances were made in the implementation.
         Yet, complementary government financial provisions and well-trained          human resources are required to ensure full and sustainable policy

-       Returning migrants could play a more active role in service delivery
        and advocacy efforts to strengthen labour migration governance
        policies and systems.   

-       A pilot intervention under Phase 3 connecting migrant workers with
        skills training opportunities has generated interest for replication and
        expansion including for returning migrants.

-      COVID-19 outbreak highlights the Sri Lankan government’s lack of
        preparedness to address migrant workers’ concerns in a crisis situation. 

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile DSC
Credito Cooperazione allo sviluppo
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
ONG internazionale o straniera
Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite (ONU)
  • Organizzazione Internazionle del Lavoro
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Altri partner

Main Government counterparts: Foreign Employment Division of Ministry of Skills Development, Labour Relations and Employment

Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment. Other relevant state and non-state actors including civil society organisations, trade unions and the recruitment industry.

Coordinamento con altri progetti e attori

Decent Work portfolio of the Global Programme Migration and Development such as the South Asia and Middle East regional programme on labour migration, Global Solutions and more.

Synergies are created with regional programmes of the International Labour Organisation and International Organisation for Migration as well as SDC South Cooperation programmes in the region. 

Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF    4’650’000 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF    1’465’561
Fasi del progetto Fase 4 01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024   (Fase in corso) Fase 3 01.03.2016 - 31.12.2020   (Completed)