Knowledge Hub on Labour Migration in South Asia Launched

Delhi - This week saw the virtual launch of a South Asian knowledge hub on labour migration by a cross-agency UN regional programme. The South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM) will bring together academic and policy think tanks from across the sub-region to advance the state of knowledge in this area, building bridges across disciplines.  

SALAM was launched by the Governance of Labour Migration in South and South-East Asia (GOALS), a regional programme jointly implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UN Women, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. 

The hub seeks to be a one-stop platform serving policy makers, civil society actors, social partners and other stakeholders with knowledge, information, networks, and policy solutions leading to positive changes in labour migration policies and practices.  

Affirming the regional aspect of GOALS, SALAM was also launched in partnership with Bangladesh’s Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, India’s International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Nepal’s Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility, Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute and Sri Lanka’s Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka. 

“The knowledge hub on labour migration of South Asia was established with the vision to promote understanding, strengthen research, enhance teaching and capacity building of relevant stakeholders to formulate evidence-based policies to protect migrants’ rights and promote decent work for achieving integration of migration with sustainable development,” said R.B. Bhagat, Professor and Head of Department of Migration and Urban Studies of IIPS. 

Dagmar Walter, Director of the ILO Decent Work, Technical Support Team for South Asia and Country Office for India, said “the work of this regional knowledge hub should be sustained through collective effort and shared actions.” Speaking on behalf of ILO, IOM, and UN Women, she urged the partner institutions “to ground their work on international human rights and labour rights and emphasized that joint and equal ownership should be leveraged as a strategy going forward, as well as inter-institutional collaboration.   

The virtual inauguration was attended by government representatives from across the sub-region, representatives of institutional partners of the hub, experts on labour migration, and ILO, IOM and UN Women representatives.   

SALAM will connect researchers and institutions from South Asia working on five themes: labour migration policies; gender and migration; migration, health and disaster; migration and development; and drivers of migration. The hub will examine specific labour migration and mobility issues through the broader lens of decent work for migrant workers and the social, economic and political trends in the sub-region and beyond.  

It will also work to strengthen labour migration data from a gender perspective, supporting the wider work of the GOALS Programme in areas such as fair and ethical recruitment and reintegration. This aims to foster gender-responsive policy dialogues, leading to effective actions that improve the lives of women and men who migrate from South Asia to work in different parts of the world. 

The development of SALAM is hoped to increase meaningful participation of relevant government and non-government stakeholders in the labour migration landscape. This is in line with the Global Compact on Migration’s whole-of-society approach, which emphasizes the importance of including this wide range of stakeholders to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration.  

“This knowledge hub could be a unifying platform for sharing regional and national best practices and avoid reinventing the wheel,” said Nikaril Kanth, representative from Sri Lanka’s State Ministry of Foreign Employment. He also said that SALAM could contribute to the development of similar knowledge hubs at national level. “The hub could work to address the needs of sending countries in enhancing national labour migration policies and regulations,” he added. 


For more information please contact Andrew Gray, IOM, Sri Lanka and Maldives,, Amish Karki, ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India,, Nansiri Iamsuk, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 5 - Gender Equality
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals