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Capacity Building Programme under Safe Labour Migration

The Migration Unit of Caritas Sri Lanka organized a capacity building and training programme recently for the DC and National Centre Staff along with other interested stakeholders in the safe labor migration programme. It included teachers, Development Officers, migrant returnees, Grama Niladhari Officers and an officer from the SLBFE legal division. This is the first of three such programmes, planned with the prime objective of capacitating the individuals who work towards safe labour migration in Sri Lanka.

The three programmes have been planned to cover three thematic areas,

  1. Advocacy
  2. Capacity Building
  3. Guidance

Under the current first stage, a 2-day workshop was held on 16th and 17th February 2017 at the SEDEC Auditorium for a group of 71 participants. The sessions covered all the three areas and demonstrated the importance of following the official migration procedures and the deployment of advocacy tools in minimizing gaps that leads to harsh and adverse effects in the present operational labour migration systems.

The resource persons, Mr. M. Rohan Wijesena, Additional Manager, SLBFE Legal Division, Ms. Swairee Rupasinghe, National Project Coordinator ILO, Mr. L.K. Ruhunage, Migration Consultant and Mr. A.V. Samuel, Executive Director, Community Development Service facilitated the workshop.All the experts emphasized the importance of following the official regular migration procedures and shared their experiences about the existing problems and issues in the labour migration. They also shared their expertise on the present compensation mechanism and expressed that some of the migrant workers are not aware of the existence of such a protective scheme and some even do not know the availability of the Bureau Desk at the airport reserved solely for matters relating to the migrant workers.

Meanwhile the migrant returnees at the workshop also shared their experiences and stated that previously they were not aware or heard of an official “regular migration process” with pre-departure training and instead they thought migration with the support of an agent was the only option available to go abroad. However, after workshops and continuous awareness sessions, they have learnt the “hard truth” that they need to follow the official procedures when migrating to the Middle Eastern, Asian and European countries for work. They stated that the new measures taken by the Government are effective and they safeguard the migrant workers, especially when in distress.

Another two workshops with the same objective is scheduled to be held in March and May. This programme is part of a project titled, “Advocacy, Capacity Building & Guidance for Safe Migration” funded by Caritas Japan.