Cost of Low-Skilled Migration to Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Malaysia: Value Chain Analysis – Sri Lanka

Research team

Bilesha Weeraratne
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Janaka Wijayasiri
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Suwendrani Jayaratne




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Published Year

February 2018


US$ 15 (for hardcopy)

Migration cost is distributed among many stakeholders in the migration value chain (VC). This paper utilises VC framework to conceptualise the migration process and the cost for low-skilled workers from Sri Lanka (LKA) to Saudi Arabia (SAU), South Korea (KOR), and Malaysia (MAS). The study adopts a qualitative methodology and collects data through Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions in Sri Lanka. The study identifies employers, recruitment agents in SAU and LKA, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), sub-agents, and migrants as the key players in the VC for SAU.

In the VC for KOR the key players are the public recruitment agency within the Ministry of Employment and Labour in Korea, SLBFE, and migrants, while for MAS, the key players include employers, recruitment agents in LKA, the Ministry of Home Affairs in MAS, SLBFE, and migrants.

To lower migration cost, the study suggests replacing upfront incentives with higher remuneration packages, combining functions provided by different stakeholders, decentralising SLFBE operations, increasing competition for medical certification, and staggering the time schedules of pre-departure training.