Repatriation flights to resume in a week | Sunday Observer
When domestic Covid-19 is brought under control

Repatriation flights to resume in a week

8 November, 2020

The repatriation of nearly 56,000 migrant workers is expected to resume in a week when the domestic Covid-19 is brought under control, officials said.

Director General of East Asia at the Foreign Relations Ministry, Kandeepan Balasupramaniam said they hope to bring back the migrant workers to Sri Lanka in a week or as soon as the local condition is favourable. A special flight is due to operate on Tuesday (10) to repatriate Sri Lankans living in parks and safe houses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“We have repatriated 44,000 migrant workers over the past months and hope to resume operations in a week,” Balasupramaniam said.

The Government suspended repatriation flights due to the sudden spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country. This was decided on considering the availability of quarantine spaces and hospital beds. However, special flights continue to selected destinations. One person from Abu Dhabi, 18 from Doha Qatar and 11 from Chennai arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday (7). They were sent to Sri Lanka Army-run quarantine centres.

The Government launched a program last month to pay compensation up to Rs. 500,000 to families of migrant workers who died having contracted Covid-19. A further Rs. 40,000 is paid for each family to conduct the final rites of the deceased.

Migrant workers make up 24 percent of the country’s labour force, 33 percent of the total foreign exchange remittances and 8.3 percent of the GDP, with most of them working as low-skilled workers in the Middle East.