PROMISE - Poverty Reduction Through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar and Thailand

Labour migration is a key poverty reduction and economic development strategy for jobless people in the Mekong region. The last phase of this regional programme will focus on the sustainability and upscaling of support to migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to access skills development and decent employment in Thailand and when returning home. Switzerland addresses their needs with a regional approach together with the International Organisation for Migration, governments and the private sector by strengthening regional and national policies and systems.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training
Vocational training
Labour migration
01.09.2021 - 31.08.2025
CHF  7’650’000
Background Labour migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region is driven by higher wages and income in countries of destination combined with lack of viable livelihood options in countries of origin. Migrant workers also make a vital contribution to household and national income in countries of origin through remittances, and are increasingly recognised in national policies as critical to building a strong labour force in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (CLM). However, migration still bears risks of exploitation, poor living and working conditions, debt and low wages. Thailand’s economy depends on migrant workers filling labour market gaps in low-skilled occupations with no mechanisms for skills development and skills recognition. Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, end of 2020 approx. 3 million regular migrant workers from CLM were still in Thailand with approx. 400’000 of them out of jobs, while several hundreds of thousands had returned back home. This highlights the need to strengthen the focus on sustainable social and economic reintegration for migrant returnees in CLM, while still addressing their needs in Thailand. The importance of skills development and employment for migrant workers is high on the agenda of CLM’s policies as well as in the ASEAN. By investing in skills development of migrant workers along the migration cycle outcomes of migration can be improved.
Objectives Women and men migrant workers from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar in Thailand as well as  returning migrants have enhanced decent employment and improved livelihood contributing to economic resilience and poverty reduction.
Target groups

-    Women and men migrant workers from CLM along the migration cycle: before migration, during migration in Thailand and when returning to CLM;

-    Private recruitment agencies and employers in CLMT;

-    Government of CLMT and ASEAN.

Medium-term outcomes

1.    National and regional policies and institutional capacities related to skills development, labour migration and ethical recruitment are more migrant-inclusive and gender-responsive, and better serve the needs of migrant workers and their employers;

2.    Women and men migrant workers have improved em-ployability across the labour migration cycle;

3.    Women and men migrant workers are more informed and protected at all stages of the migration.


Expected results:  

1.1    Private sector has increased capacity to implement and comply with policies, good practices and international standards related to skills development, decent employment and safe migration for migrant workers;

1.2    Strengthened compliance with and implementation of ethical recruitment principles among recruiters, employers, Governments and CSOs;

1.3    Support to the development and implementation of evidence-based, migrant-centred and gender-responsive national and regional policies and frameworks, including enhanced collaboration between public and private sector;

2.1    Improved  access of migrant workers to skills development, certification and recognition at all stages of the migration cycle;

2.2    Enhanced mechanisms for jobs matching and referrals for returnee migrants;

2.3    Improved business skills and digital and financial literacy for migrant workers in CLMT;

3.1    Improved and more coordinated assistance and services for migrant workers; 

3.2    Improved access to information for migrant workers and their families

Results from previous phases:  

-    263,000 migrant workers received support such safe migration training, pre-departure and post-arrival orientation, protection and assistance, incl. related to COVID-19 crisis;

-    25,900 migrant workers across CLMT accessed to skills development and employment referral services;

-    680 private sector stakeholders engaged on skills development, decent work, and ethical recruitment for migrant workers in CLMT; 70 trainers received ToT on safe migration; 73 Private Recruitment Agencies (PRAs) across CLMT have enhanced their capacity to implement ethical recruitment practices;

-    Regional and national policies increasingly address skills development for migrant workers.

Lessons learnt: Exchange between various stakeholders at national and regional level has to be strengthened. Institutional capacity development of key stakeholders requests follow-up and coaching to make it more sustainable. It is important to differentiate between soft and technical skills.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • International Organisation for Migration

Other partners
Contribution to International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Coordination with other projects and actors Triangle (ILO), Safe and Fair (ILO, UN women),  GOALS (SDC GMDP with ILO, IOM, UN women) and SDC’s Skills Development Projects in CLM.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’650’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’675’000
Project phases Phase 2 01.09.2021 - 31.08.2025   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.11.2015 - 31.08.2021   (Completed)