Working paper

Migration and Gender Outcomes: Analysis of Selected Policies in Sri Lanka


Bilesha Weeraratne


This paper analyzes the implications of migration rules, regulations, and policies in Sri Lanka, in the country’s efforts to integrate gender perspectives into migration issues. The study focuses on three policies: the imposition of maximum chargeable amounts that agents can collect for recruiting migrant workers, mandatory predeparture training for migrants, and the Family Background Report requirement. The study adopts a combined methodology, wherein an in-depth case study of Sri Lanka is developed based on data from key informant interviews and a review of the literature. This qualitative methodology is reinforced by a difference-in-differences analysis of the Family Background Report policy. The study finds that women’s increased access to migration brought about by the zero-chargeable policy is neutralized by the Family Background Report (FBR) requirement. Ideally, the FBR policy should be revisited to strike a balance between women’s autonomy versus benefits to children left behind. As such, in addition to the multifaceted gender implications of migration policies, the study underscores the importance of coordination among policies to ensure optimal gender outcomes.