News ≫ About 25% expatriate workers remit 60 percent of foreign earnings

About 25% expatriate workers remit 60 percent of foreign earnings

Aug 26, 2016
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by Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Sri Lanka was currently having a very constructive dialogue with the United Nations (UN) and the wider international community as the new government had embraced the policy of engagement by abandoning the previous government’s policy of self-isolation, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Colombo Process (CP) 4th Senior Officials’ Meeting and the 5th Ministerial Consultation at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, Minister Samaraweera said, “We have taken note of the useful recommendations provided to us by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, following his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2014.”
He noted that the advancement of migration issues would be an integral part of the country’s threefold efforts to achieve a vibrant democracy, reconciliation and development.
Commenting on CP, the Minister said it had made efforts to ‘develop cheaper, safer and faster modes of remittance transfers’ and the efforts would facilitate in realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He noted that the money earned by the Lankan expatriate workers accounted for 25 percent of Sri Lanka’s total workforce and annually contributed to 60 percent of the country’s total foreign earnings.
“We are committed to ensuring that the migrant workers have safe and dignified employment abroad,” Minister Samaraweera said.
Commenting on human trafficking and human smuggling, Minister Samaraweera said illegal and irregular means of migration put lives at risk and, therefore, it was important to prevent trafficking and smuggling of persons by introducing coherent policies, regulations and legislation.
Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala said a productive, safe and harmonious migration could only be achieved if there was wider and deeper inter state co-operation among the sending and receiving countries and it was the key to a better functioning International Labour Migration Process.
Highlighting the importance of playing a more active role to develop coherent, multidimensional and strategic approach for migration management, Minister Athukorala said, “We all have to seek innovative ways for the welfare of our citizens.”
She said that all member states of the CP were faced with the complex responsibility of ensuring the benefits of the labour migration systems which apply to the labour migrants and their families while contributing to long-term economic growth and development in both sending and receiving countries.
The respective ministers and other representatives of eleven member states of CP are participating at the two-day meeting held on August 25 and 26 under the theme of ‘International Labour Migration for Prosperity, Value Addition through Collective Action.’ International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) host the forum organized by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Employment.
CP is a regional consultative process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour for countries of origins in Asia. Established in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2003, the forum comprises Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Sri Lanka is the current Chair of the CP.

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