ECONOMYNEXT – Despite repeated measures to prevent Sri Lankans of using illegal ways to leave the country including using boats, the island nation’s authorities are struggling to prevent the unlawful movements as the unprecedented economic crisis is haunting millions.
In the latest move, Réunion Island of France has repatriated 46 Sri Lankans who tried to illegally enter the country, an Information Department statement said, fleeing from the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
The group, including 43 men, 02 females and one child, had set sailing on December 02, 2022 from Negombo beach and in 22 days had reached Réunion Island where they were arrested by the local authorities.
“They have been identified as residents of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Batticaloa, Chilaw and Negombo, from 13 to 53 years of age,” the statement said.
The group was returned by air on January 13, 2023, it said.
“The group will be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department for onward legal action”.
The initial investigations have revealed that the smugglers were from Colombo suburb Dehiwala area and charged between 200,000 – 4.5 million rupees per person, the statementSri Lanka has seen a rapid growth in illegal migrants, mainly aiming to go to Australia, India, Italy and Canada.
In 2022 only the Sri Lanka Navy detained 1507 persons while attempting to flee the country almost 11 times than the previous year.
Out of the total 1,189 were said to have attempted to reach Australia and most of the arrests had been made in Sri Lanka’s Northwestren coast of Mannar beach, followed by Eastern port district of Trincomalee and Capital Colombo.
Sri Lanka does not require exit visas, but authorities try to stop migrants who do not use official exit points. (Colombo/ Jan 16/2023)