Sri Lanka Hosts Third Asia-EU Dialogue on Labor Migration


Sri Lanka - Labor migration, population demographics in the European Union (EU) and Asia, and the challenges faced by both regions were among the subjects discussed at the third Asia-EU Dialogue on Labor Migration in Sri Lanka this week.

The two-day event was coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare in collaboration with IOM. Funded by EU, the Dialogue focused on the theme of “Strengthening Labor Migration Corridors between Asia and EU through Enhanced Migration Governance”.

The Asia–EU Dialogue on Labor Migration brings together the 11 member countries of the Colombo Process (CP) and the 28 EU Member States. It aims to gain a better understanding of the key trends and issues underlying labor markets of both migrant-sending countries of Asia and migrant-receiving countries of the EU.

“The EU is undergoing a demographic transition with a low birth rate and diminished availability of workers to fill labor niches. There is a burgeoning opportunity to tap this emerging, multi-faceted labor market,” noted Hon. Dilan Perera, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare in his key-note address.

Globally, the significant contribution of well managed migration on development has been widely recognized. Migrant remittances continue to account for a large share of the GDP of many developing countries. However, certain negative migration trends have persisted. The challenges remain related to the high cost of migration, labor exploitation and abuse, irregular migration, unethical recruitment practices, xenophobia and the lack of social integration.

IOM’s Regional Coordinator and Advisor for South and South West Asia, Rabab Fatima said: “This year’s dialogue provides a valuable opportunity to continue productive discussions on such challenges, but more importantly, to identify other potential areas related to labor migration between Asia and the EU.”

The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs and the EU Ambassador/Head of Delegation in Sri Lanka, H.E. David Daly.

The event demonstrated that the Asia–EU Dialogue remains an effective forum to promote exchange of ideas and actions, at the inter- and intra-regional level, for the orderly and well managed labor migration between Asian countries of the CP and the 28 members of the EU.

The third Asia-EU Dialogue on Labor Migration was preceded by the second Senior Officials’ Meeting of the CP which took place at the same venue on 14th October.  One of the objectives of the CP under the Sri Lankan chairmanship is enhancing collaboration of CP member countries with other consultative processes such as the Asia-EU Dialogue.

“The hosting of these meetings back to back offered a unique opportunity for Asian labor sending countries to share experiences, lessons learned and best practices on overseas employment within and beyond the region,” said Giuseppe Crocetti, the IOM Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka.

The Colombo Process is a Regional Consultative Process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labor for countries of origins in Asia. As the Secretariat of the Colombo Process, IOM provides operational and technical support to the Sri Lankan chairmanship, and will continue to assist with the dialogues and partnerships fostered by the process.

For more information please contact

Giuseppe Crocetti
IOM Sri Lanka
Tel. +94 115325300

Sri Lanka hosts the third Asia-EU Dialogue on Labour Migration in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by the European Union (EU). This year’s dialogue focused on the theme of “Strengthening Labour Migration Corridors between Asia and EU through Enhanced Migration Governance”.