Labour Migration from Colombo Process Countries: Good Practices, Challenges and Ways Forward
This issue brief, the first in a series launched by MPI and the International Organization for Migration, examines the complex issues surrounding labor migration from Colombo Process (CP) member countries. Outlining the concrete actions taken by CP governments since 2005, it discusses the progress made—as well as the policy challenges that remain—with regard to creating efficient and equitable migration systems that benefit labor migrants and their families and, at the same time, contribute to long-term economic growth and development in source and destination countries. The brief concludes by identifying a number of policy levers through which governments can begin to address the gap between the stated aims of policy measures and their application on the ground.
Despite the growing legislative and diplomatic focus on regulating the labor recruitment process and enhancing welfare provisions for migrants, the authors find the effectiveness of recent efforts hampered by several implementation challenges. The key obstacles include: poor information dissemination largely due to the insufficient accessibility and quality of predeparture programs; the high costs of formal migration coupled with a lack of control over illegal recruitment and migration practices; limited government capacity to provide welfare protections throughout all stages of the migration cycle; and the absence of mechanisms that ensure a full transfer of wages and social security benefits earned abroad, thereby maximizing the benefits of labor migration.
In addressing these challenges, the authors encourage CP governments to adopt a three-pronged strategy of developing knowledge based on policy-relevant research, formalizing practical policy dialogues, and forging meaningful partnerships among the major actors in labor migration.
II. Labour Migration Trends since 2005
III. Policy, Institutional and Programme Development
IV. Four Sets of Challenges and 10 Steps Forward
V. Conclusion: Building Capacity at Home and Abroad