Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered on Tuesday that the repatriation of Sri Lankan migrant workers waiting to return to Sri Lanka should be expedited.
At a discussion held at Temple Trees on the repatriation of Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister instructed the relevant authorities.
State Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Market Diversification Piyankara Jayaratne pointed out that a large number of Sri Lankan expatriate workers who are burdened by economic difficulties are unable to return to Sri Lanka.
The Prime Minister expressed his confidence that steps would be taken in consultation with the Presidential Task Force on the Prevention of COVID-19 to bring these workers back to Sri Lanka as soon as possible.
Accordingly, the discussion also focused on granting the necessary permits for the passenger planes carrying these workers and performing PCR tests.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the Presidential Task Force would also look into whether the workers could be allowed to quarantine themselves according to the facilities available in their homes.
At present, about 32,000 Sri Lankan workers have been repatriated and another 22,483 are waiting to return to their homeland.
SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage said air travel facilities have been provided to the workers so far in accordance with the space available at the quarantine centers.
Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Prime Minister and Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister were also present at the discussion.