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Provincial quarantine centres to expedite migrant worker repatriations

4 February 2021 09:12 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has directed the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to set up nine provincial quarantine centres, with the assistance of the COVID-19 Task Force, to expedite the repatriation of some 30,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded abroad. 


“I have advised the SLBEF to start discussions with the COVID-19 task force and to setup nine provincial centres for the purpose of quarantine. The expenses will be paid out of the funds of the SLBFE in regard to this initiative,” de Silva announced this week.


Over 30,000 migrant workers, out of 63,000 requested, have already been repatriated.  


de Silva noted that the backlog was due to the limitations in quarantine facilities, including shortage of medical officers to cater to the returning migrant workers.


Further, speaking on behalf of the SLBEF, he pointed out that the COVID-19 Task Force is in fact directly in charge of the repatriation process. 


Meanwhile, de Silva also announced that the SLBEF has been directed to pay for the cost of full return air ticket of any Sri Lankan migrant worker who is registered with the SLBEF and unable to afford the return air tickets.


“We advise people who want to return to Sri Lanka to register with the respective divisions of our missions,” he said.He noted that the SLBEF has already allocated Rs.30.9 million funds to this cause. 


In addition, the Labour Ministry also decided to provide an Rs.85,000 interest-free loan to returning migrant workers to support their resettlement plans in the country, which is in addition to the Rs.15,000 granted by the SLBEF. (NF)

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