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International Labor migration institutions of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka in Ferment the Philippines as Catalyst




Tomas D Achacoso


International labor migration is an age old phenomenon. Due to the profound economic political and social factors, inter alia, of rapid population growth in many developing countries, failing development plans, increasing urbanization and environmental degradation, the management of this phenomenon has become more complex in the face of new challenges brought about by globalization. To the extend that international organizations like the ILO, IOM have had to consign international labor migration concerns to the “back-burner” due to the dilemma wrought by its inherent characteristics and the complex and sensitive nature of national sovereignty. Moreover, countries who conform to certain international rules not because the abide by the principles attached to these rules but because it is within their interests to conform to them. Thus, many labor sending and receiving member states of the ILO have failed to ratify various ILO Conventions, despite the fact that these instruments are designed to promote universal norms and standards and to protect the interest of workers when employed in other countries. IOM Dhaka commissioned this study to compare the institutional capacity of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines only to realize that there were hardly any previous works done to provide a basis for such a comparison. The report strongly suggests that what happens within countries can turn out to be part of a much broader international process of political and economic change, that the unilateral decisions and actions of nations can influence events in the international arena in spite of the view of how international the world has become. It is further suggested that international labor migration institutions need more practical assistance than the rhetoric of intentions that past studies and manuals can provide. These countries need assistance in transforming the knowledge derived from studies into practical ways and means and for throughput processes to shepherd them through. All these are dealt with using the experience of the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to demonstrate how it managed to provide mechanisms to protect and promote the welfare of migrant of migrant workers despite the absence of international agreements and conventions.

Number of pages


Place published

Dhaka, Bangladesh


International Organization for Migration (IOM)

File Attachments



Fragmented Approach, Good governance, Bilateral labor arrangement, Policy making bodies, Intervention into actions

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, Dancers, and Other

Content types

Policy analysis and Support initiatives

Target groups

Policymakers and Researchers

Regulation domains

Remittances and co-development programs and Recrutement / placement agencies

Geographical focuses

Philippines, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka

Spheres of activity