Our History

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) was established in 1985 under the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Act, marking a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s management of labor migration. The establishment of SLBFE was a response to the growing demand for overseas employment opportunities and the need to regulate and protect the rights of Sri Lankan migrant workers. The SLBFE Act was subsequently amended by Act No 04 of 1994 & Act.No.56 of 2009.


During the early years, the SLBFE focused on formulating policies, developing guidelines, and setting standards for recruitment agencies involved in foreign employment. It aimed to create a transparent and efficient recruitment process while ensuring the well-being and protection of Sri Lankan migrant workers.




How it was formed

In the following years, SLBFE expanded its operations and services to encompass various aspects of labor migration. It established regional offices island wide to provide better accessibility to prospective migrant workers and facilitate the recruitment process. The SLBFE also collaborated with international organizations, foreign governments, and stakeholders to enhance cooperation and promote ethical recruitment practices. As labor migration from Sri Lanka continued to grow, SLBFE recognized the importance of pre-departure training to prepare workers for overseas employment. Training programs were introduced to educate workers about their rights, job responsibilities, cultural norms of the destination country, and how to address potential challenges. These initiatives aimed to equip workers with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in foreign work environments. SLBFE also recognized the need to protect and support Sri Lankan migrant workers while they were abroad. It established Labour Welfare Sections and safe houses in destination countries to provide assistance and support to workers facing difficulties or exploitation. These facilities offered temporary accommodation, counseling services, legal aid, and medical support to ensure the well-being and protection of workers.

How it grown

Over the years, SLBFE has continuously evolved its services and policies to address emerging issues and challenges in labor migration. It has implemented measures to combat fraudulent recruitment practices, strengthen regulations, and enhance the overall welfare and protection of Sri Lankan migrant workers. The SLBFE has also embraced technology-driven systems to streamline processes and improve efficiency in managing foreign employment. Today, SLBFE stands as a vital institution in Sri Lanka's foreign employment sector. It plays a significant role as the governing body in regulating the recruitment process, protecting the rights of migrant workers, and facilitating their safe and orderly migration while ensuring the welfare and protection of Sri Lankan migrant employees and their left behind family members. Through its initiatives and collaborations, SLBFE continues to strive for the betterment of Sri Lankan migrant workers and the sustainable development of the country's foreign employment industry.