By Olindhi Jayasundere
The UNDP (United Nations Development Program) yesterday expressed the need to encourage migrant labour in Sri Lanka by mainstreaming migration into the development strategy of the country.
Sri Lanka UN Resident Representative Neil Buhne addressed the media and other officials said that mobility both within and across the borders accelerate the growth and development of the people and the country at large.
“Reports have shown that migration has a positive impact on the income, education and the health of migrants. Those with lower skills have better potential to become higher skilled workers. This has been shown clearly in health indicators and quality of life indicators,” Buhne said.
UNDP research reports indicates that migrants from the poorest countries on average saw a 15-fold increase in incomes, a doubling in education, and a reduction in child mortality rates after moving to a developed country.
Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Secretary Sunil Sirisena who was also present at the discussion said in 2008 alone the country received US $ 3 billion in remittances, this is 7-8% of the country’s GDP.
Mr. Buhne said that migrant labour must be encouraged but that it has its deficiencies as well. “The violation of fundamental rights are some of the shortcomings in migrant labour because certain nations do not abide by the migration policies that exist”, he said.