Dec 08, 2021

Pension scheme for migrant workers from January

A special contributory pension scheme for migrant workers is being prepared and will be implemented from January next year, according to Labor Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.

"When our country was going through a severe economic crisis due to the Covid epidemic, it was our country's migrant workers who provided our country with the foreign exchange it needed. Hence, their contribution and their importance is much greater today than it was before. We as a nation must commend their great service to rebuild our economy. They should be respected. Therefore, as a tribute to them, arrangements will be made to launch a contributory pension scheme for migrant workers from January next year,”the Minister said.

He said this at a ceremony in the Uva Province where children of migrant workers who had passed their O/L and A/L examinations were granted scholarships on the 28th of last month.

The scholarships of Rs. 20,000 each to 28 students were awarded to students who passed the Year 5 Scholarship examination, Rs. 25,000 each to 65 students who passed the GCE O / L and Rs. 35,000 each to six students who passed the GCE Advanced Level. The scholarship program for the children of migrant workers, launched by the present Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in 1996, has so far awarded scholarships worth Rs. 900 million to 44,940 children.

He said that we must stop sending our women abroad as housemaids and instead encourage them to be sent abroad as trained domestic workers, nurses, adult caregivers and trained technicians. The Minister said that accordingly, it was his view that sending our mothers and young women as housemaids should be stopped within the next 3-4 years, adding that India had already done so.

He also called for greater welfare benefits for the foreign workers and their families, as well as for a fair wage and maximum protection in foreign countries.

“Today, in countries like the Philippines and Nepal, migrant workers have become their main source of foreign exchange earnings. In our country too, skilled workers have employment opportunities in many professions around the world. At present the awareness of the people of our country about the foreign employment opportunities available to them is at a very low level. Therefore, the Bureau officials should go to distant villages and meet the youth directly and educate them about the professions in countries like Japan and Israel. It is the responsibility and duty of the officers of the Bureau of Foreign Employment to engage these youths in the vocational and language training programs relevant to those occupations. Therefore, those officers should take an interest and commit themselves to direct at least one to ten youth per officer for overseas employment,” said Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.

The Chairman of the Bureau of Foreign Employment Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe (Rtd), former Uva Provincial Councilor Ajith Liyanage, Leader of the Opposition of the Haliela Pradeshiya Sabha Ajith Jayasiri and officials of the Bureau were also present on the occasion.