Labour migration from Sri Lanka has experienced many changes in recent years. Often, these are due to traditional reasons, such as oil price fluctuations and the slowing down of growth in destination economies; but another factor that could contribute to shifts in migration patterns is the transformations taking place in the world of work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This blog examines the influence of 4IR on changing patterns of labour migration from Sri Lanka.
Remittances make an indispensable contribution to the Sri Lankan economy. In 2018, the country received remittances of over USD 7 billion, accounting for 7.9% of the GDP. Often, remittances to Sri Lanka are attributed to the temporary migrant workers and viewed from a national perspective. Nevertheless, there are more dimensions to remittances. This blog, Bilesha Weeraratne, examines the nuances of receipt of remittances, at the household level in Sri Lanka.
Taking into account the locations immediately affected by the Easter Sunday attacks and its ripple effects, a short- to medium-term impact on foreign exchange earnings is likely to be experienced in Sri Lanka. The tourism industry, despite once being well-positioned to continue its upward trend in foreign exchange earnings, is now likely to experience a temporary downfall, while international remittances, which were experiencing an incipient downward trend, are likely to experience a temporary upturn in the aftermath of these attacks, argues Bilesha Weeraratne.
The coordinated blasts on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka claimed more than 250 lives and left at least another 400 injured. While Sri Lanka battled a civil war for nearly three decades, this is a new brand of terrorism which transcends geographical borders. In this, migration in and out of countries play a critical role. Here, Bilesha Weeraratne sheds light on some of the policy developments that will need urgent attention in response to extremist terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka from a migration point of view and institutional changes in border control in Sri Lanka.
With the recent signing of the Sri Lanka – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA), as well as the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India that is being negotiated, there has been wide public debate on the issue of allowing free movement of people across borders. Bilesha Weeraratne argues that the ability to retain skilled foreign workers, and continue to attract high-skilled migrant workers is contingent upon the development of policies that will cater to the needs of inbound migrant workers while leveraging the potential they hold to foster economic growth and development in the country.