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    Migrants could be used to fill labour shortages

    April 08, 2019

    The Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ravinatha Aryasinha suggested giving refugees the right to work, speaking at the Colombo Development Dialogues organized by the LSE, the University of Colombo and UNDP at the Cinnamon Lakeside on April 5. He was amongst a panel of speakers discussing the Refugee crisis.

    “Given the labour shortages we are encountering it is possibly time to work with the relevant stakeholders in a limited manner to start pilot projects. The one thing about an asylum seeker is that they are grateful. This gratitude will transfer into productivity,”

    He said that Sri Lanka is going the extra mile to remain relevant in trying to help on the refugee question. We also have been the recipient of many Sri Lankans who have enjoyed refugee status and I think this makes us more responsible in dealing with refugees on our shores as well.”

    Aryasinha speaking on allowing refugees the right to work said “on employment, not a question of numbers but what you provide for one you provide for others as well. There are significant illegal migrants,”

    He said “What you do to an asylum seeker you will equally have to do to people who are illegally here as well. An illegal will get away easily but an asylum seeker can be identified.” Aryasinha on education added “To be integrated within the traditional school system (referring to child refugees).

    In Sri Lanka, we are talking about 300 school going children. It is not a large number although one has to be conscious that numbers can grow. Aryasinha said the Sunday schools are a means of bringing these children into our society. There is a good network.

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