Sri Lanka migrant workers topped 1.1 million 2016: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s total foreign employed workforce has climbed to 1,189,359 by December 2016 from 942,729 in 2015, Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala said.

The data was based on Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) registrations adjusted with immigration data, Minister Athukorala told parliament.

In 2014, Sri Lanka’s total expatriate workforce was calculated at 914,867.

The total foreign employed workforce has climbed despite reported departures falling.

It is not clear whether the total has gone up due to a change in data compilation or workers staying abroad on longer contracts. The SLBFE had earlier said that data before 1995 were sharply under-reported as indicated by their airport surveys, which increased after registrations improved.

According SLBFE data quoted in the Central Bank’s annual report, reported departures in 2016 fell to 242,930 from 263,443 in 2015. There were no data on returnees. Departures had peaked at 300,703 in 2014.

Over the last 10 years, departures of female workers who are mostly employed as housemaids, have fallen while male workers have increased.

In 2007, 114,983 females left for employment, with 102,356 going as housemaids.

In 2016, 82,628 females left the country and 65,127 were housemaids. Housemaid departures peaked at 119,011 and had fallen steadily to 65,127 since then.  (Colombo/June21/2017)





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