By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Sri Lanka is targeting $1 billion monthly foreign inflow from worker remittance by end-2023 with more people leaving the island nation for offshore jobs amid an unprecedented economic crisis, Foreign Employment and Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.
Sri Lankan migrant workers’ foreign remittances amounted to a total of US$ 1.41 billion in the first three months of 2023 exceeding the $1 billion target forect for this year, Central Bank data shows
Foreign remittance of US$ 568.3 million has been recorded in March 2023 in comparison to the US$ 318.4 million reported in March 2022.
The Minister further stated that this was a 78.5% (US$ 249.9 million) increase compared to the inflows recorded in March 2022.
The central bank’s figures have shown that the foreign remittances earned by Sri Lankan migrant workers’ were at $437.5 million and $ 407.4 million in January and February 2023, respectively an it was increased significantly to $.568.3 million in March 2023.
Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, noted that 300,000 Sri Lankans have left the island for foreign employment in 2022.
The government has offered moe concesstions for srilankan migrant workers such as high duty-free allowance, pension benefits, and vehicle imports to boost foreign remittances.
The duty-free allowance given to expatriate workers at the airport will be increased from May 01, Minister of Labour & Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara says.
Addressing a media at the Government Information Department, Nanayakkara said a circular in this regard has already been issued.
Earlier, a memorandum presented by Nanayakkara to the cabinet of ministers seeking their approval to increase the duty-free allowance given to expatriate workers at the airport had been green-lighted.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment took measures to issue the relevant circular.
As per this circular, expatriate workers who legally send money to Sri Lanka through the banking system are eligible to receive an increased duty-free allowance, he explained.
The amount of money sent through the banking system from May 01, 2022, will be taken into account and this concession will be given under five categories.
Migrant workers who have sent between US$ 2,400 – $ 4,799 will get an additional duty-free allowance of $600 and workers who have remitted between$ 4,800 -$ 7,199 will get an additional allowance of $ 960.
Meanwhile, the expatriate workers who have sent between $7,200 – $11,999 will receive an additional duty-free allowance of $ 1,440, while those who have remitted between $ 12,000 – $ 23,999 can get $ 2,400.
The migrant workers who have sent $24,000 or more can get an additional $ 4,800 duty-free allowance.
Nanayakkara said the facility is available through a mobile application operated by the Central Bank, adding that by registering through this app, it is possible to get an additional duty-free allowance based on the amount of dollars they have sent to the country.