ABSTRACT

In meeting the needs of global capital, the Philippines and Sri Lanka have taken different policy paths, largely shaped by strategies formed under colonialism and post-independence. This chapter critically examines and compares the historical underpinnings of international labour migration in the Philippines and Sri Lanka and how this evolved into a permanent dependence on foreign employment. I examine the political–legal events that steered both countries to adopt comprehensive legislative and institutional frameworks to govern the migration of women domestic workers. This analysis reveals tension between their rights-based political discourse in theory and economic priorities in practice. While both states claim to not promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development, their actions reveal how they actively intervene to influence the volume and direction of women domestic workers to overseas labour markets as a specific avenue of capital accumulation.