Protecting Migrants’ Rights and Promoting Decent Work with the South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM)

Migration today is often linked directly or indirectly to the search for employment opportunities, to improve livelihood options and development outcomes for individual workers and their families. Despite the extensive benefits of labour migration stemming from the enjoyment of people’s fundamental rights to movement, occupation, and work, extensive efforts are needed to improve governance of labour migration. Effective measures must be grounded in evidence. For this, data on labour migration and migrant workers in South Asia disaggregated by sex, occupation and several other variables is of utmost importance.

In this context, the South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM) envisions promoting, understanding, strengthening research, enhancing teaching and capacity-building to formulate evidence-based policy with an aim to protect migrants’ rights and promote decent work for achieving integration of migration with sustainable development. The Centre is jointly initiated by three UN agencies namely ILO, IOM, and UN Women under the GOALS (Governance of Labour Migration in South and Southeast Asia) Programme with several rounds of discussion with International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai, India, and UN Agencies. IPS serves as the focal institution from Sri Lanka.

Study on Informal Remittances

Remittances, which play an important role in the Sri Lankan economy, are transferred to the country through both formal and informal channels, but the extent of the latter is still unknown. Various reasons and contexts compel migrants to use both formal and informal channels . This study aims to expand the understanding of informal remittances to Sri Lanka with a qualitative methodological approach.

Make or Break a Crisis: A Comparative Analysis of the Role of Remittances in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

This study explores the role of foreign remittances in the context of economic crises, specifically in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka faces a severe political and economic crisis, and Pakistan deals with political issues, natural disasters, and economic pressures. Bangladesh also contends with inflation, deficits, and foreign exchange concerns, but Pakistan and Sri Lanka entered crisis earlier than Bangladesh. Thus, the study involves a comparative analysis of remittance roles before, during, and after economic crises.  The experiences of each country offer valuable lessons for improved remittance management to prevent or navigate crises effectively.  Two research questions guide the study: what is the role played by remittances in the run up to an economic crisis? and how do remittances contribute to the recovery and reconstruction after a crisis? relying on qualitative and quantitative data sourced from existing literature and data sources from each of the selected countries. The methodology involves a thematic analysis and literature review, aiming to provide insights that can help shape economic policies and prevent crises in the region.

Research team

Bilesha Weeraratne
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Thilini Bandara
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Thisuri Ekanayake
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Awahnee Mendis


International Labour Organization (ILO)