Chapter 18: Casting outside regular pathways: state restrictions to Sri Lankan female migration
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Historically, Sri Lankan women from poorer households have relied on migration for work overseas as a means to support their families. However, the introduction of mobility restrictions targeting women with young children from migrating, has upended the established, somewhat transparent migration process for women. Considered discriminatory on the basis of gender, social class and marital status, this regulation has been attributed with increasing the vulnerabilities women experience in trying to navigate this regulation. This Chapter examines how the women are policed by government officials whose roles have been re-designed to deter women’s mobility while simultaneously rendering anyone who circumvents the regulation as “illegal”. The chapter concludes by reflecting on how such restrictions re-shape migration pathways for women, especially in pushing the mobility infrastructure to enable irregular migration which simultaneously lessens access to protection and makes labour migration more precarious.

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