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Monday, 19 December 2011

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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 national coffers.

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.

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