Type: Regional consultative process (region covered: Asia)

Formal association with regional or multi-stakeholder organization: None

Established: 2003


The Regional Consultative Process on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labor for Countries of Origin in Asia (formerly called the Ministerial Consultation on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labor for Countries of Origin in Asia) or the Colombo Process aims to provide a forum for Asian labor-sending countries to:

  • Share experiences, lessons learned and best practices on overseas employment and contractual labor; 
  • Consult on issues faced by overseas workers, and labor sending and receiving states, and offers practical solutions for the well-being of overseas workers, particularly the vulnerable overseas workers;
  • Optimize development benefits from organized overseas employment, and enhance dialogue with countries of destination; and
  • Review and monitor the implementation of the ministerial recommendations and identify further steps for action.

Current Thematic Focus

The Colombo Process addresses five thematic priority areas and while also incorporating four crosscutting themes into these priority areas:

Thematic Priority Areas:

  • Skills and Qualification Recognition Processes
  • Fostering Ethical Recruitment Practices
  • Pre-departure Orientation and Empowerment
  • Promote Cheaper, Faster and Safer Transfer of Remittances
  • Labor Market Analysis

Crosscutting Themes:

  • Migrant Health
  • Operationalization of the Migration-related Elements of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Promotion of equality for women migrant workers
  • Consular Support for Migrant Workers

Chairing Country

Incoming Chair: Afghanistan 
Past Chairs:  Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh


IOM provides technical and administrative support to the Colombo Process. The Colombo Process Technical Support Unit, based in IOM Sri Lanka, provides technical support to the Colombo Process in its thematic areas of focus.


Member States (12 States)

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Viet Nam

Note: Founding States: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.


Observer States

Several States (Australia, Bahrain, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America) have been invited on an ad hoc basis to observe Colombo Process events depending on the theme . 

Observer Organizations

Several Intergovernmental, regional, civil society and private sector organizations including but not limited to the  Asian Development Bank (ADB) , Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),  Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) , The European Commission (EC) , International Labor Organization (ILO) , International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) , International Organization for Migration, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS ( UNAIDS ) , United Nations Development Program (UNDP) ,United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women ( UN Women ) , World Bank (WB) , and  Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) , have been invited on an ad hoc basis to observe Colombo Process events depending on the theme.


For additional Colombo Process and Colombo Process-related documents, please visit the Colombo Process e-Library .

Contact information

Colombo Process Secretariat 
IOM Mission in Afghanistan
1093, Street No. 4, 
House N 27, 
Ansari Square, 
Shahr-e-Naw, Kabul,  
E-mail: cpsecretariat@iom.int 
Telephone: +93 729 80 5018 
Fax: +93 729 80 5012

Colombo Process Technical Support Unit (CPTSU)
IOM Mission in Sri Lanka
Level 9, 80A ,
Elvitigala Mawatha,
Colombo 08, Sri Lanka
Email:  colomboprocess@iom.int https://srilanka.iom.int/