Online SALAM Lecture Series on Migration Flows and Border Controls to Enhance the Benefits of Inward and Outward Migration: Lessons from Sri Lanka and Maldives

21 March 2024

IPS recently organised the Online SALAM Lecture Series – 17 on Migration Flows and Border Controls to Enhance the Benefits of Inward and Outward Migration: Lessons from Sri Lanka and Maldives via Zoom. Mr. Shantha Kulasekara, Head of Office/Senior Programme Manager, International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Sri Lanka and Maldives, led the lecture with Dr Bilesha Weeraratne, Research Fellow & Head of Migration and Urbanization Policy Research, IPS moderating the discussion.

Mr. Kulasekara delved into the complexities of border management, underlining the necessity of safe migration for both sending and receiving countries. He discussed how current governance practices often complicate migration, leading to exploitation, abuse, corruption, and various forms of informalities leading to unsafe and irregular practices.

According to Mr. Kulasekara, a well-functioning border management system must ensure that borders are open for trade and the legal movement of people, but closed for illegal activities, thereby promoting labour mobility, tourism, and other economic opportunities.

Drawing examples from countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China he highlighted how technology has enhanced border management and labour mobility, suggesting that Sri Lanka, as a labour-sending country, could adopt similar measures to improve its processes.

Mr. Kulasekara also touched on experiences in the Maldives, particularly the Maldivian passport which is ranked 54th in the world, and how Sri Lanka could stand to gain through technological advancements in terms of immigration and emigration, especially by locking biometric information with biographic information.

The lecture concluded with a Q and A session that saw the participation of university students, academics, media personnel, and experts from local and global agencies.