Ministry of labour partners with IOM to strengthen labour migration governance

Group photo of government, private and IOM participants at the Labour migration governance training in Freetown. Photo: IOM 2024 / Bilal Kamara

Freetown - The Sierra Leone Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), concluded a two-day training on Labour Migration governance for government officials and the private sector in Sierra Leone from 15 to 16 May 2024. 

The training reveals a significant collaboration between the Ministry of Labour and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to enhance labour migration governance. The training’s primary objectives were to bolster the effectiveness of labour migration governance, uphold migrant workers’ rights, and ensure that migration is well-managed to maximise its benefits. 

The two-day training aligned with the objectives of Sierra Leone’s Labour Migration Policy. It aimed to strengthen labour migration governance mechanisms, including ethical recruitment and follow-ups, as well as establish a fair and secure environment for migrant workers.

In his statement, the Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, Mr Lansana Dumbuya, raised the previous years when Sierra Leone suffered the adverse effects of irregular migration and trafficking in persons, leading to unintended consequences. Mr Lansana highlighted the Ministry’s proactive efforts to manage labour migration properly. 

“The Ministry, in collaboration with the Law Officers Department, social partners and other relevant stakeholders, facilitated the enactment of the Overseas Employment and Migrants Workers Act in 2023 to provide for the protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers and members of their families and to provide for other related matters. The Act also makes provision to punish individuals who engage in the recruitment of Sierra Leoneans for the purpose of overseas employment without a valid license to do so (trafficking or smuggling),” he says.

“The Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and Bilateral labour agreement to ensure safe, orderly, regular and dignified migration to the following countries: UAE, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait,” added the Deputy Minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Security. 

In Sierra Leone, labour migration continues to shape the country’s economic, social and cultural landscape. With its burgeoning population of young people desperate for opportunities, labour migration presents enormous opportunities and challenges for the country. Over the years, a high number of victims of trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling have been recorded, leading the country to be ranked among the top five countries in West Africa with the highest number of returned stranded migrants. For instance, between 2019 and 2024, IOM Sierra Leone assisted the voluntary return of 8,583 Sierra Leonean migrants stranded along the migration routes. 

The training, a testament to the broad interest and commitment to labour migration governance, brought together participants from various ministries, agencies, and NGOs, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs, the Informal Workers’ Organization and Sierra Leone overseas recruitment agency, etc. During the training, participants gained insights into the principles and mechanisms of ethical recruitment, including integrating migration into development planning.

The Vice Chairman of Sierra Leone’s overseas recruitment agency, Mr Sylvanus Murray, expressed his appreciation for being part of the training. He stated, “This training has helped me understand the different forms and phases of international migration. With this knowledge, we can improve our ethical overseas recruitment.”

The Head of Office of IOM Sierra Leone, Mr Christos Christodoulides, commended the government’s efforts to address the complexities of labour migration and its willingness to collaborate on enhancing migration governance in Sierra Leone. 

“During this two-day training, we will explore various aspects of labour migration governance, focusing on ethical recruitment considerations. Together, we will work towards strengthening the labour migration governance mechanisms in Sierra Leone, paving the way for a more inclusive and sustainable future.”


For more information, please contact:

Bilal Kamara, IOM Sierra Leone,

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities