ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Employment will start a survey to assess the number of Sri Lankans who have left the country with no records and offered houses, Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.
“We don’t have data on the number of migrants. We don’t have information on Sri Lankans who are permanent residents in foreign countries, those who have gone for studies, and those who have gone for work and not returned to the country for a long time,” Nanayakkara told reporters in Colombo at a media briefing.
“The Labour Ministry, Foreign Employment Bureau, and other institutions jointly are going to conduct a survey in the next few days to find out the plight of Sri Lankan migrants.”
“We will be addressing the housing needs of those migrants’ families while obtaining the details with the help of the Housing Ministry and National Housing Development Authority.”
Some Sri Lankans do not register in the Foreign Employment Bureau when they leave the country for blue collar jobs, while most professionals including doctors, care givers, and engineers never get registered, government officials say.
Thousands of Sri Lankans are now leaving the country after an unprecedented economic crisis while an increasing number of students have also been looking for foreign universities for their higher studies.
Government officials say those who go out of the country for higher studies hardly return to Sri Lanka, given they have better opportunities in the other countries.
“We can’t get the accurate number of migrants because there are many illegal migrations. There is no way we can have an idea about the numbers,” Nanayakkara told EconomyNext.
Sri Lanka has witnessed an increase in the brain drain since the country officially declared a sovereign debt default in April last year.
Remittances is Sri Lanka’s top foreign exchange earner before the economic crisis. The island nation saw a record $7.1 billion revenue in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally. (Colombo/September 15/2023)