Sri Lanka expects US$ 7 billion from migrant workers
Jan 5, 2013

Sri Lanka expects U$D 7 billion in foreign remittances from overseas employment for the year 2013, according to Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary Nissanka N. Wijeratne. Our target for the past year was U$D 6 billion and we were able to achieve this,” he said.

He made this statement at the launch of the “Operational Manual for Labour Sections of Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions in Labour Receiving Countries”.

The manual was developed by a sub-committee appointed by the Ministry Secretary, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations, Ministry of External Affairs and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment. It aims to improve protection and grievance handling mechanism for Sri Lankan migrant workers, who amount to almost 1.8 Million and presently work in the middle-east, far-east and Europe.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Swiss Development Cooperation provided support to the local stake-holders in formulating this manual.

An ILO study titled “Strengthening Grievance and Complaint Handling Mechanisms to Address Migrant Worker Grievances in Sri Lanka”, which analyses types, numbers and frequency of migrant worker complaints received by different institutions, and analyses the procedures adopted by such institutions in complaints handling, including gaps, provides recommendations for further improving the current system of migrant worker grievance handling in Sri Lanka.

Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations W.J.L.U Wijayaweera stated that the establishment of such a manual was extremely valuable since in his experience various individuals at the Labour Sections of Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions tend to handle issues at their own discretion and have to face disciplinary action due to their inconsistent procedures.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Karunatileke Amunugama emphasized the role played by foreign diplomatic missions in safeguarding the rights of Lankan migrant workers.

“Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Missions play a vital role in safeguarding the rights of Sri Lankans employed outside the country. In countries that employ a large number of Sri Lankans, primarily in low skilled categories of labour, these Missions are expected to provide myriad services including addressing migrant workers grievances,”he said.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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