Bilesha Weeraratne Speaks on the Recruitment of Migrant Workers

15 – 16 January 2018
Paris, France

IPS Research Fellow, Bilesha Weeraratne, attended the First International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS), at the OECD Conference Center in Paris, France on 15 – 16 January 2018. IMFS was organized by the OECD, IOM and UN-DESA to mobilise expertise from a wide range of disciplines, to improve global understanding of the migration phenomenon. The forum focused on innovative ways to measure population mobility and generate timely statistics, and to create synergies between different actors and perspectives, with representatives from ‘origin’, ‘transit’ and ‘host’ countries of migrants.

At the IFMS Dr. Weeraratne made a presentation titled ‘Tracing Informal Recruitment Relationships through a Panel Survey of Migrants’, which is based on her ongoing study on Recruitment of Temporary Migrant Workers & the Evolving Role of Sub-Agents in Sri Lanka’, funded by REALM. This study adopts an innovative data collection approach based on the recruitment framework in Sri Lanka. The study involves two waves of rolling samples of current and potential migrant households spaced out by 6 months, which enables to analyze migrants as cohorts of potential and current migrants, and produces panel and cross sectional data structures for analysis.

Her preliminary findings show that  migrants take time in the recruitment process to distinguish formal versus informal recruitment intermediaries, and  potential and current migrants’ perception about informal sub-agents evolve over the course of the recruitment process.  As such, Dr. Weeraratne recommends that in order to facilitate better migration outcomes, any future regulations related to Sub Agents need to be widely disseminated to potential migrants and their families earlier on in the recruitment process.