The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has decided to push for the establishment of a mechanism for the reinvigoration of returning migrant workers.
Manager-Research and Administrator at the SLBFE, Dr. Ibra Lebbe Hadji Jameel has outlined that the well-being of returning migrant workers who have been away from their families for many years was a matter of great concern.
According to Jameel, apart from the existence of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Sri Lanka needed to build and develop more international relations with countries in the Asian region. He pointed out that Sri Lanka had issues pertaining to the issuing of on-arrival visas, communications and barriers imposed on travel.
“Instead of housemaids we must encourage, like the Philippines does, caretakers, caregivers and babysitters”, he noted while adding that aspects pertaining to skills development, vocational training qualifications, extra training prior to leaving the country and pre-orientation too were required.
“It is the right of those employed in foreign countries to receive all the necessary diplomatic assistance when they encounter a problem”, he further pointed out.
“There are 1.5 million Sri Lankans employed overseas. Annually, 300 to 400 deaths occur which include normal, accidental, suicidal and homicidal ones. We must look at and analyze all sectors in Asian countries including migration,” he said.
“We get the highest revenue of USD 6 billion in remittances. There are labour-sending countries and labour-receiving countries. Bilateral agreements are signed in this context and so too are internal agreements made and entered into by the labour sending countries. We have signed with Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. There are countries with which we have not yet signed memorandums of understanding,” he explained.