Sri Lanka workers seek Korean jobs amid currency depreciation

ECONOMYNEXT – In 2016, 6,629 Sri Lankans had officially gone to work in South Korea, a country with a stable exchange rate and better monetary policy than Sri Lanka, and 26,000 are in higher-paying jobs in the country.

On May 09, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment Bureau said it had abandoned plans to charge a 500,000 rupee deposit from workers going to Korea from this month.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has collapsed from 131 to about 154 in mid-2015.

Sri Lankans are going to work in the Middle East and Korea in droves, despite labour shortages at home due to low wages. The country’s inflationary policy of currency depreciation has pushed thousands of workers to seek jobs abroad, helping bring down unemployment.

Sri Lanka has an eco-system of job agencies that allows citizens to escape unsound money and lack of good opportunities at home.

At the same time, workers from some Indian states where unemployment is high are coming to Sri Lanka to work, sometimes unofficially.

Sri Lanka’s Bureau of Foreign Employment says, officially, there are 26,000 Sri Lankans working in Korean companies.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Atukorale had talks with Korean Minister of Employment and Labour Lee Ki-kweon on May 18 on Sri Lankan workers in the Employment Permit System (EPS) of the Korean government.

Minister Athukorala visited companies and a fish farm where Sri Lankans are working.

A country with a strong currency has capital to invest and boost labour productivity, creating jobs with higher real wages.





A country with a weak currency destroys domestic investible capital and lifetime savings of workers and potential investors (including bank deposits denominated in domestic currency) who can invest and create jobs.

Sri Lanka also has high import duties on steel, building materials and food, making it difficult to save and live in the country with existing salaries.

A foreign job allows, especially young worker,s to build a nest egg and a house or start a business after returning home. Workers going to countries like Japan have also set up international trading businesses. (Colombo/May24/2017)

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