A total of 38,983 Overseas Sri Lankans (OSLs) in 143 countries at present seek to return home, based on information gathered mainly through the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Web Portal of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
This comprises 3,078 students, 4,040 short term visa holders, 27,854 migrant workers, 3,527 dependents and 484 dual citizens and others.
Meanwhile, since April 21, up to now, 3,600 OSLs have been repatriated from 15 countries, largely comprising foreign students and government officials on training, as well as their dependents.
Recognising the need to collect data on vulnerable OSLs, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, with the assistance of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), on March 26 created the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Web Portal, within a week following closure of the airport to inbound commercial flights.
The Contact Sri Lanka Web Portal also serves as a virtual help desk for the benefit of OSLs. According to Acting Director-General, Economic Affairs (Multilateral) and Overseas Sri Lankans Anzul Jhan, since its launch, 78,033 Sri Lankans have registered on the Portal and a dedicated team operating effectively 24/7, have answered 7,788 questions posed by OSLs from across the globe - mainly on assistance on repatriation and consular issues, but also relating to other operational and policy matters.