Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne explains implications of COVID-19 on migrant remittances

 28 October 2020

Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne, Research Fellow and Head of Migration and Urbanisation Research at IPS, made a presentation on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sri Lanka’s worker migration and remittances at a webinar entitled ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Migrants, Migration Flows and Remittances: Focus on South and South East Asia’. The webinar was organised by the Centre on Migration, Remittances, and Diaspora (CIMRAD), Lahore School of Economics, Lahore, Pakistan and held on 27 & 28 October 2020.

Dr. Weeraratne explained that remittances currently appear favourable at the macro-level and better than projected due to the following plausible reasons: (1) backed-up remittances, (2) shift from informal to formal channels, and (3) new remitters. She however cautioned that none of these reasons will result in sustainable changes to households because (1) back-up remittances will not be long-lasting, (2) shift from informal to formal will not necessarily result in greater remittances to households, and (3) new remitters are not from households that regularly depend on foreign remittances. Dr. Weeraratne further noted that vulnerable remittances receiving households (i.e. households that are wholly dependent on remittances) are not covered by existing social protection.

Links to the webinar:

Webinar Day 1
Webinar Day 2