The following table details national legislation of relevance for migrant workers, including provisions regulating the recruitment of migrant workers and measures in place for protection (such as pre-departure training, insurance schemes, etc.).





Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Act (No. 21)

This Act regulates the recruitment of Sri Lankans for employment outside Sri Lanka. It establishes the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment whose main functions include the promotion of exportation of manpower as well as the protection and providing of assistance to potential, actual, and former expatriate workers. The Act imposes a license requirement on all foreign employment agencies, under the supervision of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and determines the conditions and modalities for obtaining such a license. In particular, the Bureau is charged with the training and orientation of Sri Lankans prior to departure for employment abroad. The Bureau is also required to maintain and finance a Welfare Fund specifically designated to cover, inter alia, expenses incurred for the rehabilitation of return migrants. An Information Data Bank, containing information on Sri Lankans employed outside and returning to Sri Lanka, is to be set up and maintained by the Bureau. Offences against the Act are criminally sanctioned.


The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Regulations

These Regulations prescribe the detailed conditions for obtaining a license to carry out the business of a foreign employment agency. They also determine the fees payable to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment by every worker due to work abroad. To the Regulations is annexed, inter alia, a model employment agreement to govern domestic sector employees recruited to Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and "other countries." Pursuant thereto the employer is required to pay the travel expenses of the employee upon assuming service. Upon the end of the contract, the employer must pay the employee, in addition to the return travel expenses, an end of service gratuity of not less than one month salary. The employer is also required to provide free accommodation, food, and medical care as well as insurance coverage against accident, sickness, or permanent disablement.


Model Employment Contract - Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment

The Model Employment Contract regulates the conditions of an employment contract (excluding domestic workers). The employer is required to pay the travel expenses (by air) of the employee upon taking up service. He must also pay the return fare upon expiration of the contract, upon termination of the Contract by the employer without just cause, if the employee is unable to continue work due to sickness or accident, in case of force majeure and when the contract is terminated through no fault of the employee. The employee is also entitled to free food, accommodation, and emergency medical care. The employer is required to assist the employee in the remittance of his monthly salary to Sri Lanka. It regulates the conditions of terminating the contract on both sides. On certain conditions, the employee is entitled to an end of service indemnity. An employee may terminate the contract without notice in case of inhumane treatment.


Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (Amendment) Act, No. 4

This amendment introduces a system for differentiation of the fees payable for recruitment services depending on the type of employment envisaged. It also determines the repartition of the fees paid between the licensee (70 percent), the Welfare Fund (10 percent), and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (20 percent). Fines due for offences against the Basic Act are increased considerably and the possibility to impose sanctions generally is extended.


National Labour Migration Policy

The Policy was officially launched in 2008 and adopted in 2009. Its overall objective is to advance opportunities for all men and women to engage in migration for decent and productive employment in conditions of freedom, dignity, security, and equity. The Policy recognizes the significant contribution of all Sri Lankan migrant workers to the national economy through remittances and other mechanisms. Since its adoption, a number of mechanisms, guidelines, training sessions, and documents have been prepared to facilitate implementation. For example, in 2013, an operational manual was produced aimed at strengthening and streamlining the handling of migrant worker grievances and other services that Sri Lankan diplomatic missions provide in countries of destination.


Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (Amendment) Act, No. 56


The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (Amendment) Act makes numerous amendments to the principal Act including with respect to licensing and fees.


Sri Lanka National Migration Health Policy

The Sri Lanka National Migration Health Policy was developed by the country’s Ministry of Health to promote the health of Sri Lanka’s migrants (immigrants, emigrants, and internal migrants) as well as their families.

Source: Natlex, Sri Lankan Ministry of Health