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Sri Lanka seeks to develop the migrant workers sector with the Philippines

Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of collaborating with the Philippines to develop the migrant workers sector.

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila organized a virtual meeting between the Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment and the Department of Migrant Workers as a preliminary discussion on Sri Lanka’s interest to conduct a comprehensive study on the Philippines’ model of migrant worker recruitment and management.

The interactive discussion centered on potential areas for collaboration between the two countries particularly in sharing notable policies, best practices, and mechanisms for the inclusive and sustainable management of labor migration.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Philippines Shobini Gunasekera highlighted the significant position of Sri Lanka and the Philippines as labor exporting countries and the valuable contribution of the migrant sector in economic recovery and development.

She expounded on the need of pursuing a stronger bilateral in strengthening the sector through the emulation of sound policies and actions that also cover the protection and advancement of the welfare and rights of migrant workers.

The utmost importance of addressing the plethora of socio-economic issues that entails labor migration such as the “brain-drain” phenomenon, job security, abuse, and social costs that adversely affect the families left behind in their home countries were also discussed.

Undersecretary for Policy and International Cooperation of the Department of Migrant Workers-Philippines (DMW) Atty. Patricia Yvonne Caunan chaired the session from the Philippines’ side. She welcomed the initiative of Sri Lanka to work with the Philippines in the capacity development in the migrant workers sector.

She briefed the attendees of the mandate, initiatives, and programs of the DMW and the potential areas where both countries may collaborate especially in policy reforms, formulation of mechanisms, and engagement with labor destination countries.

Consequently, Additional General Manager (International Affairs) of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment M.R.C.B Ekanayake, elaborated on Sri Lanka’s interest to learn from the Philippines’ experience in bilateral engagements with labor destination countries in the Middle East, skills and capability development of migrant workers, as well as on the established mechanisms and policies for protection of welfare and rights.

The two agencies signified their interest and committed to expand the said interaction into a series of virtual discussions in the coming weeks with the attendance of more relevant public sector stakeholders.

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