This is an opportunity for SL to re-orient foreign employment: Foreign Sec.

1 July 2020 06:44 pm - 11     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha said the current situation provide an opportunity for Sri Lanka to re-orient foreign employment in a post-Covid-19 world, sensitive to the ground realities in both Sri Lanka and the migrant labour receiving countries.

He said reorienting foreign employment would enable that the future footprint of Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka could be smarter and more sustainable though probably smaller.  

The Foreign Secretary made these observations when he addressed the 33rd Annual Session of the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) via a video, on the theme “The Role of Foreign Employment in the Economic Revival of Sri Lanka; Challenges and Opportunities”.
 
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated this year’s Annual OPA Session held on June 27-28 as a Digital Conference,on the theme ‘Bounce Back–Disasters and Opportunities”.
 
Secretary Aryasinha said the Covid-19 crisis had exposed the significant number of Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad who are undocumented/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.

Also many of them non-registering with the SLBFE was a matter of concern. It is believed that some, who might have originally registered at the point of leaving the country, might not have subsequently renewed their registration. He urged that they 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%.
 
He said, even for those who are legal, a consequence of Covid-19 has been the shrinking of the employment market, particularly with the increasing cases of unemployment, loss of contracts, non-extension of work permits and halting of temporary freelance work, which have left many of them largely destitute. It was noted that this could lead to a serious shortfall in the numbers of migrant workers who will leave for work this year and in turn a drop in worker remittances. In 2019, migrant worker’s remittances to foreign exchange earnings was 25.5 %, while its contribution to Sri Lanka’s GDP was approximately 8%.  
 
Secretary Aryasinha said, the present situation could help in building more forward looking and resilient policies and strategies that can ensure ‘sustainable and just economies’.

He noted that Sri Lanka which has had the opportunity to design and provide input on certain crucial regional modalities within the Colombo Process and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue – which  brings together the Asian migrant labour sending countries, and also connects them with the labour receiving countries in the GCC, could together with the ILO and IOM, also play a greater role in the post-COVID scenario for the benefit of the migrant workers, as well as the sending and receiving countries. This would include;
 
- ensuring the outward flow of a better trained and skilled migrant worker, one who will while able to earn more, is less likely to face the vulnerabilities presently encountered by the average Sri Lankan migrant worker, particularly the unskilled workers,

- combine market research platforms to generate vocational training programmes that will serve future job markets and economic demands in countries post Covid-19, and recalibrate to inspire a work force that meets that demand,
 
- re-formulate our education systems, and re-orient students to be a rich human resource pool for future labour markets,
 
- expedite action in enhancing cheaper, safer and faster modes of remittance flows,

 - ensure that ‘migrant health’ becomes a cornerstone in the management of migrant populations.
 
The Foreign Secretary emphasized that the recent crisis has helped break the silos and ensure better intra-governmental coordination in dealing with matters concerning migrant workers – both in Colombo, as well as in the destination countries. He said, “this augurs well for future collaborative efforts as an essential element that has helped us to thrive in this unprecedented circumstance to deliver as one. We should now look forward to further strengthening and build in a strong protocol for the ‘whole of government’ approach on issues concerning foreign employment”.

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  Comments - 11

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  • my point of view Wednesday, 01 July 2020 06:52 PM

    "- ensuring the outward flow of a better trained and skilled migrant worker," the only sensible point raised - rest pure jargon - even this statement could have used more simpler words !

    Jeeves Wednesday, 01 July 2020 06:57 PM

    If, as President suggests, we need to become more industrialised and self-sufficient, then we need our workers here to help the motherland rather than import foreign migrant workers e.g. Indians, Bangladeshi

    Jeeves Wednesday, 01 July 2020 06:57 PM

    If, as President suggests, we need to become more industrialised and self-sufficient, then we need our workers here to help the motherland rather than import foreign migrant workers e.g. Indians, Bangladeshi

    sam silva Wednesday, 01 July 2020 07:44 PM

    We have an acute shortage of labor in our plantation sector. All these unemployed people could work in our country which will contribute to our nation and not to use them as slaves in foreign countries.

    BigEars Wednesday, 01 July 2020 07:52 PM

    The result of poor governance for 70 years. Now we have to start from scratch. On and off I see a bullock cart selling kerosine. I think we could start selling on bullocks selling firewood using the workers returning from overseas.

    Lord Wolfstein Wednesday, 01 July 2020 08:00 PM

    There must be a minimum salery of US Dollar 1000 for 40 hours weekly working time

    Martin Milton Wednesday, 01 July 2020 08:17 PM

    I WRITE IN EARNEST - PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW MIGRANT WORKERS TO MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES.. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. MANY DO NOT KNOW WHAT SUFFERING THEY ENDURE THERE GENERALLY AND HOW THEIR FAMILIES IN SRI LANKA SUFFER. MM

    Premalal Perera Wednesday, 01 July 2020 10:18 PM

    Sending our young mothers to slave under harsh conditions is an admission of failure by successive rulers.

    Sunil Wednesday, 01 July 2020 11:34 PM

    Please punish and shame the foreign employment agencies who promise one salary here and when labour arrive in middle east a lower salary. These agencies join political parties to cover their wrong doings.

    Chamikara Thursday, 02 July 2020 08:16 AM

    Please stop sendinng our citizens as unskilled workers and house maids. It is a trap made by sei lankan agency mafia. It is a huge burden for the country in long run.

    Shehan Thursday, 02 July 2020 08:40 AM

    @Sunil we are paying for our own mistakes since independence. Handful of corrupted politicians enjoying superior life to-date.


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