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Sri Lanka migrant worker remittances surpass US$ 500mn last month

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lankan migrant workers have supported the country in overcoming the recent economic crisis by sending remittances through banks.

Minister of Foreign Employment Manusha nanayakkara expressed his commitment to formulating new policies aimed at providing much-needed facilities to migrant workers.

The National Policy and Action Plan on Migration for Employment Sri Lanka 2023 – 2027 symbolises our unwavering commitment to harnessing the potential of Sri Lanka overseas workforce.

It will be focusing on Investment, Innovation, and Inclusion, we envision a future where migration for employment isn’t just about remittances, but a holistic investment in the prosperity and resilience of Sri Lanka. Minister Nanayakkara said.

Worker remittances surged beyond US$ 500 million for the second consecutive month in November, data released by the Central Bank showed.

This not only reflects a seasonal increase but also underscores the sustained momentum observed in funds sent home by Sri Lankan expatriates through official banking channels throughout the greater part of this year, rebounding from a nadir hit last year.

Sri Lankans working abroad sent back US$ 537.3 million as remittances in November, bringing the cumulative eleven-month inflows to US$ 5,399.8 million, an increase of 62.9 percent over the same period in 2022.

Depreciation of the currency by about 80 percent, which helped to significantly reduce the gap between the official exchange rate and market rates, and the crackdown on unofficial money exchanging channels have primarily contributed to the surge in remittance inflows to the country this year.

Traditionally, March and December stand out as the two months with the highest volume of remittances, as Sri Lankan expatriates tend to send more money to their family and friends back home due to the festive season.

There is widespread anticipation that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will release its second tranche of programme funds, amounting to around US$ 330 million this week.

This additional financial support is expected to provide further bolstering to the external sector. The increased remittances in recent months can also be attributed to a record number of departures since last year.

Many individuals left the country in search of job opportunities and improved living conditions amid the economic crisis.

Remittances continue to be the primary source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka, with the potential to contribute approximately US$ 7.0 billion in a typical year.

The Minister pointed out that US$ 4.3 billion was received in the first nine months of this year, and foreign remittances from Sri Lankans living abroad have surged by 75%, compared with the previous year.

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