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International News

May 17, 2020

Sri Lankan govt. urges migrant workers stranded abroad to carefully calibrate possible effects of repatriation on their jobs, education

In Sri Lanka, as the COVID crisis is forcing thousands of migrant workers abroad to return home, the government has urged them to carefully calibrate the effect repatriation could have on their jobs and education, before making decisions. 

Foreign ministry said, in a statement that a cabinet paper presented by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena aims to bring back the migrant workers which need to come, but more so in some cases which have to come. 

It said some of them, as a result of being illegal do not have access to the health facilities while there are many who have been thrown out of jobs. The government called upon them to make a very careful assessment of their essential needs, as against just wanting to come for the short term. 

The statement came as around 39,000 Sri Lankans stuck in 143 countries at present seek to return home. This comprised of over 3,000 students, 4,000 short term visa holders and 27,000 migrant workers. Lakhs of Sri Lankans are employed particularly in gulf countries and COVID has adversely affected their livelihood as well as the valuable foreign remittances they contribute to Sri Lankan economy.

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