The migrant issue
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The Migrant Issue. Departures for Foreign Employment. The Migrant Issue. There are two major groups of migrant workers: Those leaving Sri Lanka to work in other countries Those leaving other countries to work in Sri Lanka. Departures for Foreign Employment.

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The migrant issue

The Migrant Issue

Departures for Foreign Employment

The migrant issue1
The Migrant Issue

  • There are two major groups of migrant workers:

    • Those leaving Sri Lanka to work in other countries

    • Those leaving other countries to work in Sri Lanka

Departures for foreign employment housemaids
Departures for Foreign Employment - Housemaids

  • Most departures for foreign employment consist of housemaids

    • The percentage of housemaids has decreased substantially in relation to the past (from 46.0% in 2009 to 41.0% in 2011)

    • Instead there has been noticeable growth in the percentage of professionals and clerical and related worker categories

    • While this is an improvement, housemaids continue to be the largest category and therefore they must be protected

Departure for foreign employment women
Departure for Foreign Employment - Women

  • Many women leave to obtain foreign employment

    • 48.3% of women and a male to female ratio of 52:48 in 2011

      • This is a decrease from 2009 when 51.7% of departures consisted of women

    • Most women who leave to obtain foreign employment are housemaids

Departure for foreign employment the middle east
Departure for Foreign Employment – the Middle East

  • Most leave Sri Lanka to work in the Middle Eastern region

    • The Middle East absorbed more than 90% of the departures for foreign employment

      • Mainly consisted of housemaids

    • Of the Middle East region, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and U.A.E. accounted for 80.3% of total departures for foreign employment in 2011

Sri lanka and migrant workers
Sri Lanka and Migrant Workers

  • Foreign employment is an important and stable source of foreign currency inflows to Sri Lanka

    • Total foreign remittances received from migrant workers in 2011 increased by 25.0% ($5145 million USD)

      • This does not account for the total country inflows that occur through informal channels

    • Additional steps taken to enhance welfare and protection of migrant workers would make foreign employment even more attractive, which would most likely result in a further increase in Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange earnings

Sri lanka and migrant workers protection
Sri Lanka and Migrant Workers Protection

  • The country has currently ratified the 1990 United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

    • For easy reference

  • The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare formulated the National Labour Migration Policy for Sri Lanka supported by the ILO in 2008

    • For easy reference

    • Aims to promote opportunities for all Sri Lankan men and women to engage in migration for decent and productive employment, under conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity

The migrant issue
Why we need to ratify C.189 of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (ILO Convention No. 189)

  • Both policies cover general and basic rights for Migrant workers; however many of the unskilled workers and housemaids tend to face additional problems that are not covered by these policies

    • As such there is a great need for further protection of this group


  • The ILO’s Convention No. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C 189) addresses the struggles faced by domestic workers and serves to protect their rights

Definitions relating to domestic workers
Definitions Relating to Domestic Workers for Domestic Workers (ILO Convention No. 189)

  • What does “domestic work” mean?

    • “Work performed in for a household or households”

  • Who is a “domestic worker”?

    • “any persons engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship”

  • Who is not a domestic worker:

    • “a person who performs domestic work only occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational basis”

Scope of the convention on decent work for domestic workers c 189
Scope of the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C.189)

  • All domestic workers

  • Under strict conditions, possible exclusions:

    • Workers with higher or equivalent protection

    • Workers in respect to which application of Convention’s provisions poses serious problems

Problems faced by domestic workers
Problems faced by Domestic Workers (C.189)

  • Minimum Wage

    • Domestic work is one of the lowest paid occupations

    • Under valuation of domestic work

    • Wage discrimination based on sex

  • Means and Modalities of Payment

    • Payments are being given at irregular intervals and not on time

  • Occupational Safety

    • Lack of safe and healthy environment

  • Social Security

    • Private an public security is not guaranteed

    • Specific risks and other issues

  • Privacy

    • No weekly rest given

  • Decent Work

  • Hours of work

    • Domestic workers must often work for 24 consecutive hours

  • Lack of access to justice

Key principles for domestic workers of c 189
Key Principles for Domestic Workers of C. 189 (C.189)

  • Decent living conditions respecting worker’s privacy

  • Freedom to reach agreement on live-in requirement

  • No obligation to remain in household during daily an weekly rest, annual leave

  • Right to keep personal documents

  • Access to third-party assistance and effective protection in case of dispute or abuse

Dispute settlement mechanisms
Dispute Settlement Mechanisms (C.189)

  • Ensuring effective access for domestic workers to courts, tribunals or other dispute settlement mechanisms

  • By themselves or through a representative

  • Under conditions not less favourable than those available to other workers

Importance of ratification
Importance of Ratification (C.189)

  • To minimize the problems faced by domestic workers

  • To protect the basic rights of domestic workers

  • Effective promotion and protection of the human rights of all domestic workers

  • Provide measures to ensure fair terms of employment and decent working and living conditions

More information regarding domestic workers
More Information Regarding Domestic Workers (C.189)

  • The texts of Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201

  • Policy briefs, studies and research on domestic work

  • ILO activities to promote decent work for domestic workers