Under the third year programme implementation of the Safe Labour Migration Project, Caritas Sri Lanka – SEDEC expanded its project outreach towards the Diocesan Centres (DC) that covers the entire island and trained the DC staff in the migration cycle and case handling mechanism that Caritas National Centre was equipped and specialized with under the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) funded project, began in 2016.

In the fourth year of the project, the DC staff is supported by a field level volunteer group who will be providing their services at grass root levels to the prospective migrants, in-service migrants and their family members along with DC Staff and DOFEs (Development Officers of Foreign Employment). They will identify the victims of migration cycle and will refer them to seek solutions from the government systems with the help of Caritas DC and NC facilitations. To achieve this objective, Caritas Sri Lanka conducted a 2-day Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop in Sinhala Medium for the DC volunteers and staff recently on 5th and 6th of September 2019.

During the workshop, the participants were made aware of the emerging trends in the labour migration industry and how they should carry out their role as paralegals at the field level. The first day of the workshop was facilitated by Mr. Pramasiri Gamage, Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Community Development (CHRCD) – Rideegama.

In addition the role of the Department of Immigration and Emigration pertaining to the Labour Migration Process was facilitated by Mr. Milinda. Meanwhile the role of DOFEs was explained to the participants by Ms. Yamuna Perera, Additional Secretary/ Development, Ministry of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports. She narrated how the work of DOFEs plays a key role at field level and how over the years their working scope has evolved to cover many aspects regarding the migrants and their welfare matters.

Then an introduction to SLBFE (Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment) was given by Mr. M.R.C.B. Ekanayaka – Deputy General Manager (Approval & Airport), SLBFE. He explained how the industry is facing numerous challenges due to the irregular migration practices and the money-minded immoral behavior of certain unscrupulous agents and even migrants themselves.

Towards the end of the second day, the participants came up with an action plan. A follow-up programme is scheduled to be held in November 2019 to assess the work of the paralegal volunteers.