Overview of Colombo Process

The Colombo Process is a Regional Consultative Process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour for countries of origins in Asia. It is a member state-driven, non-binding and informal forum to facilitate dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest and concern relating to labour mobility.

The Colombo Process was established in 2003 in response to calls from several Asian labour sending countries who increasingly recognized the need for optimizing the benefits of organized labour migration whilst protecting their migrants from exploitative practices in recruitment and employment.

The current membership of the Colombo Process consists of 12 Member States and 8 Observer Countries. Under the leadership of the Chairing country, the Member States regularly meet for Senior Officials Meetings and Ministerial Meetings to advance their commitments to the four principal objectives and thematic foci. The Member States also implement programmes and projects both at the national and regional levels in partnership with IOM, UN agencies, development partners and countries of destination in pursuit of the thematic priorities.


Upcoming Meetings...

  • Colombo Process Ethical Recruitment Meetings in Bangkok, Thailand - 13 - 15 March 2018



According to best estimates, over 2.5 million Asian workers leave their countries every year under contract to work abroad. A large proportion of workers from South and Southeast Asia head for the Gulf States to perform various types of service, trade and construction jobs, while others move to North America , Europe and Asian countries.

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The aim of the Colombo Process is to provide a forum for Asian labour sending countries to:/Share experiences, lessons learned and best practices on overseas employment / Consult on issues faced by overseas workers, labour sending and receiving states, and propose practical solutions for the wellbeing of overseas workers

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The Colombo Process Chairman is selected from the Member States and is determined through a voluntary rotational system based on alphabetical order. In principle, the term of office is limited to a two-year period commencing with the handover at the biannual Ministerial Meeting and ending at the next Ministerial Meeting.

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The objectives and thematic priorities of the Colombo Process are pursued through country level initiatives as well as regional level programs and projects in partnership with various agencies - including IOM

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Since its inception in 2003, the Colombo Process has made a number of tangible achievements at thematic level and institutional level as well as in the cooperation with other dialogue forums through concerted efforts of the Member States.

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