FBR main reason for gender diversification in Sri Lanka’s labour migration

08 March 2021

The Family Background Report (FBR) which restricted mothers of young children from migrating overseas for employment is the main reason Sri Lanka was able to achieve gender diversification in labour migration, according to Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne, Research Fellow and Head of Migration and Urbanisation Research at IPS.

Dr. Weeraratne made this observation while presenting on ‘Gender Dimensions of Labour Migration from Sri Lanka’ at a webinar on ‘Gendering Migration and Health Debates’ organised on International Women’s Day by Migration Health South Asia (MiHSA) and the research team of ‘Beyond Margins: Migrants’ Health amid rapid Urban Transformation’ – a collaborative research project of the University of Delhi, University of Edinburgh, the North East Network and the University of Essex.

Dr. Weeraratne went on to explain that an unintended outcome of this policy was that lower-skilled women were restricted from going whereas higher-skilled women were not affected due to differences in implementing and monitoring this policy. She noted that although Sri Lanka has been successful in changing the gender composition of annual departures, the country has not been able to diversify the skills mix with over 50% of female workers still migrating for low-skilled domestic work. However, there has been modest success of skills diversification for male migrant workers, she added.

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