Around 28,000 Sri Lankan youth who have migrated to Korea, temporarily, since 2014, under the Employment Permit System (EPS), to work in manufacturing, construction and fisheries sectors – dirty, difficult, and dangerous (3D) jobs in the SME sector. The temporary nature of migration to Korea necessitates that policymakers in both home and host countries look at ways to help migrants maximise savings during their stay abroad.
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.
The Sri Lankan economy is transitioning from a mere labour sending economy into one that both sends and receives workers. The same employment opportunities, working conditions, and demand and supply conditions that necessitated outmigration of Sri Lankans workers is now attracting foreign workers in to Sri Lanka. In this new reality, Sri Lanka needs an updated Act to govern immigration in to the country, as well as a matching institutional framework to ensure efficient and foolproof operation of related activities. In formulating such an institutional framework, it is important to note that migration transition is a long, complicated, and dynamic phase.
Diversification of the export basket, a more effective communication strategy to build support for reform initiatives, and addressing the skills constraints of the labor force are the top priorities for Sri Lanka. This blog, based on the closing session of the Saman Kelegama Memorial Conference, discusses the stifling bottlenecks that Sri Lanka faces in its transition towards a high middle income country (HMIC) and how to overcome them.