Bilateral Labour Agreements as Migration Governance Instruments: A Gender Analysis of Structures and Outcomes

Project status


This project aims to determine how gender is encoded into bilateral labour agreements (BLAs) and to what extent these agreements alleviate or exacerbate gender inequality, labour and human rights protections for women migrant workers. It considers how gender is encoded and operated within BLAs analysed from a feminist legal and political economy perspective, to assess to what extent BLAs offer, or could offer, an ideal governance instrument that alleviates migrant precarity and promotes gender outcomes. Since most BLAs deal with temporary contract migration, this will be the focus of this project, applied to the context of Sri Lanka which has experienced a significant rise in female migration since the 1990s and continuing female participation in major migration corridors in Asia to today. Yet, Sri Lanka constitutes an understudied case in relation to the study of BLAs. This project will thus fill an important scholarly gap and inform policy debates.

Research team

Professor Nicola Piper, Queen Mary University of London; Professor Amirthalingarn Kopalapillai, Colombo University, Sri Lanka; Dr Sunethra Perera, Colombo University, Sri Lanka; Professor Wasantha Seneviratne, Colombo University, Sri Lanka

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