Govt. enhances minimum wage of SL workers  overseas from September

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The government will enhance foreign remittances by raising the minimum monthly wage of Sri Lankan migrant workers from September 01 this year.

Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera yesterday said that the minimum monthly wage for Sri Lankan foreign workers would be increased to USD 350 from the current USD 300.

Addressing a media briefing in Colombo he said that there was no change in minimum monthly salary of migrant Lankan workers till 2010. In 2010 it was around Rs. 20,000. However, in 2011 the minimum monthly salary was between USD 200- 250 and this year his ministry had been able to increase it up to USD 300.

Minister Perera said that the minimum monthly wage for housemaids in West Asia, Malaysia and the Maldives should be USD 300 or above as there was a big demand for trained Sri Lankan housemaids in the international market.

Sri Lanka would not promote sending women abroad as housemaids and, therefore, if employer needed Sri Lankan housemaid they would have to pay minimum monthly wage of USD 350 from September, Minister Perera said.

Around 17 percent of Sri Lanka’sworking population is employed abroad and they sent USD 7 billion (Rs. 910 billion) in remittances to the country last year. The remittances were around USD 4.2 billion in 2010, the minister said, adding that his ministry would aim to earn USD 10 billion in 2020.

Perera also noted that he had already asked for Cabinet approval to introduce a pension scheme for Sri Lankan workers overseas.

The Minister said the Korean job scheme might be in jeopardy due to protests held by a group of job seekers recently demanding immediate employment, but the Korean Language Proficiency Exam would be held this year, too.

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