President pays special tribute to Lankan migrant workers
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday took part in a walk to mark
International Migration Day that commenced from Galle Face Green, as a
tribute to Lankan migrant workers, who are the main contributors to the
He was joined by around 1,000 Korean job aspirants from Sri Lanka.
The walk was organised by the Foreign Employment and Welfare Ministry
together with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau.
A special stamp was also issued to mark the occasion with Postal
Services Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga handing over the first day cover to
the President. The new smart card containing the accounts and data of
Lankans employed overseas launched by the National Savings Bank,
People’s Bank, Bank of Ceylon and the Foreign Employment Bureau was
symbolically presented to the expatriate community by the President
together with Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Perera said he greatly appreciated
the presence of the President at the walk to pay tribute to sons and
daughters of Sri Lanka who brought the larger portion of foreign
exchange to the country.
He recalled that it was President Rajapaksa who opened avenues for
Korean jobs for Lankans as the Labour and Vocational Training Minister.
The minister said this year, 9,998 Lankans had qualified in the Korean
language proficiency test making them eligible for jobs in Korea. He
said that it was President Rajapaksa who paved the way for this
programme and also for setting up welfare centres in overseas Lankan
missions to attend to the welfare of Lankans employed abroad.
He said they were all indebted to the President for resurrecting the
Foreign Employment Bureau that was threatened with closure in 1994 and
bringing it to the present standard with all facilities .
The Minister said a similar walk took place in all towns to pay
tribute to the heroes who kept the country’s economy going and who are
only second to the war heroes. The walk commenced with the President
releasing balloons and MPs A.H.M. Azwer, Namal Rajapaksa, Uditha
Lokubandara and envoys of Japan and Korea, Bangladesh High Commissioner,
Consul General of the Philippines and International Labour Organization
Chief Executive Officer participated in the walk.