Migrant Workers are Sri Lanka’s main contributor to the national economy, with over 2 million nationals working overseas. This sector brings it tremendous benefits to the country. At the same time migrant workers and their families regularly face varying types of grievances throughout all stages of their employment procedure: pre-departure, in-service, as well as return and re-integration, and such complaints are not subjected to only destination countries, but within Sri Lanka as well. While diverse government mechanisms address issues in the process of migration, there is a need for a separate mechanism to address issues faced by migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka. These issues range from issues faced by children in terms of education and care giving, by aged family members of migrant workers, criminal activities during the pre departure process, and issues faced on return.
In response to these issues and disputes, the Sri Lanka National Labour Migration Policy set out the need for Special Mediation Boards to resolve these disputes through mediation. In 2018 following extensive preparation, the first Special Mediation Board to address dispoutes faced by migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka will be established in Kurunegala district on a pilot basis.