Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha on Wednesday said in spite of the gloom caused from the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation had been an eye-opener that could help correct structural, procedural and human interface incongruities in Sri Lanka’s labour migration.
Aryasingha said the present situation also presented an opportunity for Sri Lanka to re-orient foreign employment in a post-COVID-19 world.
He wanted people to be sensitive to the ground realities in both Sri Lanka and the migrant labour receiving countries.
According to him, so that the future footprint Sri Lanka’s foreign employment will provide the world could be smarter and more sustainable though probably smaller.
“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the significant number of Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad who are undocumented or irregular.
“And as a result are ineligible to avail of medical and other benefits in their host countries, and are also vulnerable to deportation if identified,’’ Aryasinha said in the statement.
It is believed that some, who might have originally registered with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment at the point of leaving the country, might not have subsequently renewed their registration.
Aryasinha urged them to register so that they enjoy the benefits of an expanded social safety net, as successfully practiced by migrant workers in countries like the Philippines, where the percentage of registered migrant workers is 96.8 per cent.
Sri Lanka’s foreign employment sector is presently one of the largest foreign exchange earners with thousands of workers travelling overseas each year for employment.
A majority of the Sri Lankan workers travel to the Middle East through which large foreign exchange remittance is deposited into the country.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye (NAN)
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