JVP: Expat Lankans will stop remittances unless govt. solves their problems

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By Saman Indrajith

The JVP-led Sri Lankan expatriate association, Ethera Api, yesterday warned that the Sri Lankan migrant workers were poised to decide whether they would continue to send their earnings home or not if the government continued to ignore their grievances.

JVP Politburo member and Chairman of the Ethera Api Sunil Handunnetti told the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte that the government had withdrawn most of its employees in high commissions, embassies, etc., in foreign countries due to the pandemic outbreak and there were no lobour or welfare officers in those offices to attend to grievances of Lankans living abroad. “The government goes begging for dollars world over but has no concern about the migrant workers who send home around 7,000 million US dollars a year. Even amidst pandemic, the migrant workers have sent home 3,324 million US dollars during the first six months of this year. On average, they send home around 550 million a month. Yet the government has no concern for their issues. The government has no mechanism to look after the family members and children of those migrant workers. There are many migrant workers who cannot obtain vaccines because they do not have documents. The government should have put in place a mechanism via the diplomatic missions abroad to provide an opportunity for the Lankans living there to obtain vaccines. They are fed up calling for the attention of the government. They will soon make a decision whether they would continue to send money to this country in future,” Handunnetti said.

Ethera Api Treasurer Attorney-at-Law Janaka Adhikari said that the diplomatic missions abroad had failed to provide for many Lankans stranded in foreign countries due to the pandemic. An official of the Foreign Employment Bureau says that they spent between Rs 13 and 15 million to provide food for Lankans who lost their jobs abroad. We demand to know details of the countries and number of migrant workers supported in that manner.”


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