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Government guarantees rosy future for migrant workers

In a far- sighted move towards harnessing the potential for labour migration to contribute to national development, the government is now providing basic welfare facilities for migrants and their families after these migrants return and settle down in the island.

Migrant workers are a major source of foreign exchange income for Sri Lanka with around 250,000 workers contributing slightly more than 1 percent of the population – leave the country each year to find work in other countries.

Over a million migrants work abroad contribute eight percent of Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product to the economy more than official development assistance or foreign direct investment from their lowest-paying overseas jobs facing awful working conditions.

Most of these Migrants also make family members more vulnerable, especially children who are left here in Sri Lanka without parents.

In a latest move to secure their future the Finance Ministry under the Enterprise Sri Lanka concessionary loan scheme will be providing further concessionary loans to widen the schemes enabling the stake holders to move towards next generation economic activities in their areas of activities.

Accordingly migrant workers will be given up to 10 million rupees concessionary housing loans to be repaid in 15 years with two year grace period.

Although this government has taken several welfare measures for the benefit of migrant workers, there were many important things to be fulfilled in migrant rights, families left behind, health, gender issues and social equity.

Issues such as policies, acts and conventions, migrant rights, skills development, trafficking of persons, forced labour and modern slavery, migration status, reintegration, migrant health, voting rights and governance in migration are yet to be handled.

Meanwhile Sri Lankan workers in over seas have remitted a sum of $ 562 million in May 2019, recording a decline of 3.1 per cent (year-on-year). On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances amounted to $ 2,733 million during the first five months of 2019.

Workers’ remittances continued to be moderate resulting in a subdued performance of the secondary income account which is earned by unskilled and housemaid categories, Central Bank confirmed.

The Central Bank stated that a shift in skill levels of migrant labour can be observed over the years due to the steps taken in a strategic direction by the authorities towards the concept of “Safe, Skilled Migration.

(LI)

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