Monday, October 19, 2009

Migrant workers lead foreign capital inflow

Daily News – 19th October 2009
Sanjeevi Jayasuriya

At a glance

* Total number of out migrants estimated to be 1.8 million

* Remittances of migrant workers around $ 3 billion

* First country report on International Migration Outlook 2008 launched


Remittances of migrant workers are close to US $ 3 billion or seven percent of the GDP or 36 percent of exports earnings and it is the second largest foreign exchange earner to Sri Lanka .

It has become the leading source of foreign capital to Sri Lanka , overtaking the official development assistance and foreign direct investment Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, Executive Director Dr. Saman Kelegama said.

International labour migration is an important area in the Sri Lanka ’s socio-economic system.

Migration from Sri Lanka has grown in importance for the past several decades and the numbers have increased over tenfold during the same period.

The total number of out migrants of Sri Lanka on employment abroad at present is estimated to be 1.8 million while annually the outflow of workers is estimated to be around 250,000 people, he said.

In 2007, 23 percent of the total employment generated and 21 percent of the labour force in Sri Lanka was represented by foreign employment. he said.

Sri Lanka has a huge mismatch between the international demand for jobs and its supply capabilities.

The most pressing issue is the skill mismatch of what is demanded by the foreign countries and what Sri Lankan workers could offer. The Government has placed special emphasis on the promotion of high skilled workers as against the low skilled categories of labour migrants, but much work needs to be done, he said. The first country report on International Migration Outlook Sri Lanka 2008 was launched on Friday

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