Migrant workers last in repatriation priority list: Colambage

10 June 2020 05:01 am - 30     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage, Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations, told Daily Mirror that according to government policy, the priority in the repatriation procedure for Sri Lankans stranded abroad was not for migrant workers but for students.

He said Sri Lankan migrant workers would be brought back to the country once the repatriation of students was completed and that there were close to 400 students living in the United States, Belarus and the Philippines scheduled to be brought back in the coming weeks.

“Currently, we are giving priority to students. Nearly 275 students will arrive from the Philippines tomorrow and will be sent to quarantine centres after PCR tests at the airport. We will next bring back those who have gone abroad on temporary visas. We have got many reports of such cases. Once that is done, we will bring back the migrant workers on a priority basis with pregnant women and those who have lost jobs taking precedence over the rest,” Admiral Colambage said.

He said 30% all COVID-19 patients reported in Sri Lanka were labelled as “imported cases” and that the Sri Lanka could not handle a large number of COVID-19 patients with the available medical and quarantine facilities available in the country.

“That is why we are currently discussing with the respective countries to conduct PCR tests for Sri Lankans seeking to be repatriated at their airports. We will also continue to carry out PCR tests for those who arrive in SL and identify suspected cases sooner than before,” Admiral Colambage said. (Piyumi Fonseka)

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  Comments - 30

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  • Nandana Wednesday, 10 June 2020 06:03 AM


    Jayantha Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:27 AM


    Noname Wednesday, 10 June 2020 06:16 AM

    The government has absolutely no right to refuse entry to Sri Lankan citizens in this way. People abroad have no idea when they will be able to return. Where are they going to stay while the government is running through its priority list? Other countries opened up field hospitals with beds in 1000s preparing for the epidemic. What has this government done? The moment 300 COVID patients arrive it has to suspend any further entry. This is abominable. Guess this is what we get when we put generals in charge.

    Sokrates Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:02 AM

    All of these migrant workers voluntarily left Sri Lanka to earn a lot of money abroad. They should first fulfill their employment contracts there before begging to come back to Sri Lanka.

    G Dasa Wednesday, 10 June 2020 07:03 AM

    Three months passed, still no action to bring down thousands of suffering migrant workers in middle east who have lost jobs, with no accommodation, no food and wandering in 50C temperatures.

    Anura Hettiarachchi Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:34 AM

    Playing flute to the deaf elephant.... GOS needs the migrant workers to remit funds under any circumstances (dead or alive) ,so that the so called leaders/politicians fun continues...

    Jude Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:16 AM

    Hello, Students are depleting foreign currency reserves WHERE as migrant workers contributing to SL FOREIGN currency reserves !! Therefore, Migrant workers should get top priority!! Govt paying foreign DEBT part of with migrant workers BILLION dollar remittance!! Yeah!!

    Shan Wednesday, 10 June 2020 12:59 PM

    An Excellent factual comment. Many students will eventually leave the country and hold citizenship of foreign nations. Bad Move by Gov

    Lakminiha Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:06 PM

    That is exactly why the government doesn't want the migrant workers to return home, because if they return the country is going to lose a colossal amount of foreign exchange. Where as when they bring the students back it will automatically stop the depletion.

    Education Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:45 AM

    What a irresponsible statement by a general. How com our own citizens be the last in the priority list. This is what happens when there are no educated people in government positions.

    MZ Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:08 AM

    Basically most people in the middle East want to come back to srilanka are not fear of being infected by corona here but for the reasons that they either lost their jobs or they are to avail their previously scheduled annual leave.

    Jehan Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:11 AM

    Wrong people running the show, General can run a war, a health crisis a doctor specialized in epidemics should be in charge.

    Leslie Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:13 AM

    Looks like no professional Personals in this govt to handle such cases. There are countries which have less facilities than SL taking care their own citizens. The national career flying all over the world and helping to repatriate the other nationalities but refused to take Sri Lankan’s. Shame to be a Sri Lankan..

    T Gunawardena Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:19 AM

    Students, migrant workers and Sri Lankan visitors who are stranded abroad has to be treated equally. Government shall adopt balance policy towards every category. Current government attitude towards migrant workers in Gulf countries cannot acceptable. They should be treated humanly.

    Andy Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:22 AM

    Migrant workers should be treated with respect . These are the people who brought significant amount of foreign income . They were not a burden to the country. When these courageous people faced a risk to their lives , should the country abandon them ? We also need to remember these people went abroad paying a fee to foreign employment bureau . What have they done for these people ? This is a wrong strategy . People will think twice in seeking employment in abroad in future as it is evident that if some thing happens they are on their own

    Ganesh Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:32 AM

    And here we are held ransom by the SL Bureau of Foreign Employment every two years to pay for an insurance scheme that no one knows what the benefits are. Why discriminate? Isn't it One Country One People?

    Citizen Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:54 AM

    This is the Govt. of the RATATA ADARA KATTIYA-SLPP

    johan Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:04 AM

    Inefficient people and the Government talk non sense.Why only students. Must be taken evenly Migrant workers and students.All other countries gradually clearing the stranded migrant workers. Migrant workers are treated impartially only. Government needs only foreign remittance

    Philip de silva Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:13 AM

    Good idea take migrant works once students

    susan shanthini ranasinghe Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:43 AM

    Are u serious?

    Noname Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:48 AM

    This priority for students is not out of any love for students of ordinary people but their own. Students normally have finances to pay for accommodation either on campus or off campus. It’s the people in Middle East and those traveling for medical reasons and the like on short term visas that are in limbo. All the claims this government makes about Covid success is rather hollow when sick Sri Lankan’s have to be looked after by foreign governments. Aside from Sri Lanka there weren’t any countries that one could go to with a Sri Lankan passport but now one cannot come here as well. What a meaningless useless booklet.

    Chanuka Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:55 AM

    Regardless of whether such people positive or not for COVID 19,They should be bring back to the country n given them the required medical facility. It just violating fundamental not allowing to reach your home country. This cannot be undone or restricted by the president of the country. Real intention should be treating patients with right medical supply but not to show the world how good we are managing the virus. . If home country trying to ignore those people how would you expect foreign country to treat those people.

    sss Wednesday, 10 June 2020 05:55 PM

    migrant workers - bring in dollars Student from rich families (some got rich by corruption) used those dollars to go abroad

    Joshua Wednesday, 10 June 2020 06:26 PM

    The Government wants them to invest their earnings in SL but not to sight this way. A military philosophy. Way to go wonder of asia

    no name Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:08 PM

    Look, other poor and developing countries are bringing back their citizens and providing quarantine facilities for thousands of them. In Sri Lanka we have many empty hotels, hostels and other facilities for accommodations and many public health staff (including retired staff) and security personals also available to facilitate the quarantine process. Even general public will be generous to support if the government is genuinely work. If you look at, each district has several hospitals even it reported 5,000 COVID-19n cases there are facilities available to support them (most of the cases not required ICU facilities). If the government acted early and diligently, by now they have brought at least 40,000 people most whom are not be infected. Keep delay bring people means SL government is losing hard currency one way or another. Simply, our incapable and ignorant government and politicians were not able to organize things and worked out a plan. They only looking for a political gain.

    Lakminiha Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:09 PM

    Results can be expected by 6th of August

    Citizen Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:54 PM

    This is one reason that this government should be voted out. They don't care for the ordinary masses, only their friends and relatives ?

    Mz Thursday, 11 June 2020 04:04 AM

    Hoped all the relatives of the expatriates would take the correct decision on the 04 Aug election

    Bandula Abeywickrama Thursday, 11 June 2020 07:45 AM

    this is terrible, student left country since they have enough money to spend for over-ease education. Migrant workers left the country to earn money to spend for their families. These student get the best care in these developed world countries. These countries don't want to tarnish their businesses. Government has given up on migrant workers at the last minute, just to bring back children of wealthy individuals. Do not for get the fact that these are the people who voted for Mr Gotabaya ... and these idiotic officials going to ruin him

    ReaderD Thursday, 11 June 2020 08:44 AM

    Program should be based on available quarantine space and facilities, hospital space. So far country has managed very methodically don`t be reckless.

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