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Govt to pay compensation to families of deceased migrant workers

Migrant workers in Kuwait, April 2020

ECONOMYNEXT-Sri Lanka will pay LKR 500,000 as compensation to the families of each migrant workers who died due to COVID-19 overseas, Minister of Labour Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament today.

He said that as of 13 November 2020, a total of 68 Sri Lankan migrant workers had died due to COVID-19, while of them 24 had appealed for compensation valuing Rs 12 million from the Sri Lanka Insurance through Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agency (SLFEA).

“Only 6 cheques valuing Rs 3 million has been approved by Sri Lanka Insurance and sent to SLFEA,” he said

He also added that out of the migrant deaths, whose registration with SLFEA has expired, 6 had appealed for compensation and only one had received compensation valuing worth LKR 300,000 as of 13 November.

Further, he said as of 13 November according to the data of SLFEA and Department of Immigration and Emigration a total of 816,433 Sri Lankans are working abroad.

De Silva added that SLFEA has given full support to the migrant workers who have contracted COVID-19 and whose registration with the agency is valid to claim insurance from Sri Lanka Insurance.

He said a total of 102 requests made to SLFEA for medical assistance and flight ticket expenditure due to COVID-19 and only 49 cheques valuing Rs 2,388,228 have been approved by Sri Lanka Insurance as at 13 November.

He also mentioned as of the 13 November a total of 13,181 (registered/registration expired with SLFEA) Sri Lankan migrant workers had returned while only the data of 6,657 out of them has been computerized by the agency.

Moreover, he said that out of the 6,657, 1,617 hopes to get local jobs, 2,163 hopes return to foreign jobs, 654 are interested becoming Self-employed, 64 said they need further training and 2,159 had other needs.

The Minister said that dry rations, basic medication, masks, temporary lodging facilitated together with the respective SL embassies can be highlighted as the measures that have been taken by the Ministry for the welfare of the Sri Lankan foreign employees distressed due to COVID-19.





However, he said that the Presidential task force on COVID-19 gave directions on the number of migrant workers that can be practically repatriated at times depending on the quarantine facilities, PCR testing capacity, ICU beds and other facilities and also depending on the limitation of the use of airspace of other countries and limitation of the airport and its services.(Colombo/Nov19/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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