The Government is planning to introduce a National Policy on Labour Migration to usher better protocol on labour migration policies and management.
The final draft of the proposal being prepared by the Foreign Employment and Welfare Ministry is to be presented to the Cabinet in September for further perusal.
Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka said the proposed document would include three key windows such as Regulations on Good Governance, Protection and Welfare of Migrants and Development Aspects of Labour Migration.
According to Ranawaka the proposed National Policy being prepared under the purview of Minister Keheliya Rambukwella is considered to be the first of its kind in South Asia prepared to deal exclusively in matters pertaining to labour migration.
Under the proposed Good Governance theme, matters such as improving recruitment procedures, sub-agents and foreign employment agents, minimising exploitation and preventing human trafficking are to be looked into.
The proposed National Policy will also to introduce better protocol on migrant worker rights, issues pertaining to salary/perks, better welfare facilities, personal issues during pre and post-migration periods and effective measures to help relatives at home.
In the development aspect, the proposals are to concentrate on matters such as maximising migrants contributions to the national grid, new vistas in foreign employment, skilled manpower to cater to modern day demands, etc.
According to statistics, the Sri Lankan migrant worker fraternity is considered to be in the excess of 1.6 million with another 220,000 new recruits joining the force annually.
When it comes to Sri Lanka s export earnings, the migrant worker remittances which constitutes of 36 per cent, is only second to the income earned through apparel exports.
During 2007, migrant worker remittances stood at US $ 240 million and according to sources, the figure is on the upward trend. According to analysts, with new vistas in the horizon and considering the growth rate, foreign employment is set to eclipse apparel imports as Sri Lanka s biggest foreign exchange earner in the near future.