Sri Lanka is facing a severe economic crisis, and many people are looking for opportunities to work abroad.
In the second quarter of 2023, the number of official migrant worker departures from Sri Lanka decreased slightly, from 76,384 in the same quarter of the previous year to 70,867.
However, the number of monthly passport applications remained high, suggesting that many Sri Lankans are still looking to leave the country.
There are a number of reasons why Sri Lankans are choosing to migrate.
The economic crisis has led to high unemployment and inflation, making it difficult for people to make ends meet. Additionally, the government has been unable to provide basic services such as food, medicine, and fuel, which has further exacerbated the situation.
The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) has said that it will not register workers going on tourist visas to the UAE and Oman, who would then go for interviews from there.
This is because the SLFEB believes that these workers are likely to be exploited by unscrupulous employers.
However, there have been reports that officials may try to stop individuals who are departing to the Middle East on tourist visas by questioning them.
This has raised concerns that the government is violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of movement.
The high number of passport applications suggests that many Sri Lankans are still willing to risk the dangers of migration in order to find a better life for themselves and their families.
The government needs to take urgent steps to address the economic crisis and provide basic services to its people, in order to stem the tide of migration.
In addition to the economic factors, there are also a number of social and political factors that are driving migration from Sri Lanka.
These include the long-standing conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities, and the recent rise of religious extremism.
Many Sri Lankans feel that they cannot live in peace and security in their own country, and they are looking for a better life elsewhere.
The migration of Sri Lankans is a complex issue with no easy solutions.
However, it is clear that the government needs to take steps to address the root causes of the problem.
By improving the economy, providing basic services, and promoting peace and security, the government can help to reduce the number of people who feel compelled to leave the country.