Jun 03, 2020

SL loses 20% foreign employment opportunities

Sri Lanka may have lost around 20% of its foreign employment opportunities due to the coronavirus as many migrant workers have either already returned or are waiting to return to the country, according to the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE).

The worst affected were those in the Middle East and the migrant workers who worked as housemaids, according to the Bureau.

Speaking to The media, SLBFE Deputy General Manager Jagath Batugedara said that job opportunities in Qatar and Kuwait had been affected by the current pandemic.

The SLBFE, however, believes that the situation would return to normal within the next four months.

“We have already received word of employment opportunities in Korea and Japan, and agencies had brought down proposals last week,” Batugedara said, pointing out that the sooner flights return to normalcy, the sooner the SLBFE would begin sending migrant workers overseas for work.

Apart from the Middle East, there was no major impact to the employment opportunities available in other countries, the Bureau explained.

“In Korea, the situation is normal, and mostly it’s the employees who had completed their contract period who were stuck there without a way to come back to the country,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Ethera Api Organisation (EAO) Secretary Lakshman Nipunaarachchi told The Morning that Sri Lanka would lose over 100,000 of foreign employment opportunities due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to the EAO, migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries are suffering greatly, and are being forced to stay at home as their workplaces are closed.

Sri Lanka’s overseas job market and remittance inflow are likely to be severely affected as already a large number of Sri Lankan migrants had lost their jobs. Many migrant workers are experiencing pay cuts as industries in large numbers have been shut down due to the pandemic, he said.

The Morning