PM requests for more employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in South Korea

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa requested South Korea to consider increasing the number of employment opportunities allocated for Sri Lanka.

The Prime Minister made the request during a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea Park Byeong-seug recently at Temple Trees. Speaker Park is the first South Korean speaker to visit Sri Lanka in 10 years.

The Korean Speaker responded positively to the request stating, “I’m pleased that young, talented Sri Lankan workers have contributed to income growth of both our countries.”

According to the Foreign Ministry, currently, approximately 22,000 Sri Lankan migrants are employed in South Korea. In 2019, they collectively remitted approximately $520 million back to the country. The contribution of remittances from the Sri Lankan migrant workers in South Korea was 7.75% of the total foreign remittances, equivalent to 0.62% of Sri Lanka’s total GDP.

In year 2019, South Korea allocated 3,600 employment opportunities to Sri Lankan migrants. That allocation decreased to just 500 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, approximately 400 Sri Lankans have already secured employment in South Korea and are looking forward to traveling. After a lapse of 20 months, the first batch of 33 Sri Lankan migrants arrived in South Korea last month.

Speaker Park thanked the Prime Minister for supporting the vaccination of the South Korean community in Sri Lanka and for including the Korean language as a foreign language in the Advance Level curriculum.

The Sri Lankan delegation also requested South Korea for support with vocational training programs, noting Sri Lanka’s highly-skilled human resources and a workforce with good IT knowledge. Responding positively, Speaker Park said Sri Lanka’s young workforce with good English knowledge, together with South Korea’s technological capabilities can open up collaboration possibilities in the areas of education and vocational training.

In other areas of discussion, Prime Minister Rajapaksa requested South Korea to encourage more Korean investments in Sri Lanka, pointing out that, at one time, South Korea was among the countries that had the most investments in Sri Lanka.

Speaker Park also suggested that the two countries explore cooperation in the areas of climate change and renewable energy resources.

This year, Sri Lanka and South Korea are celebrating 45 years of establishing diplomatic relations. Speaking about the many years of close cooperation between the two countries, Speaker Park said, “I hope this visit will be a catalyst for a new chapter of prosperity.” – ada derana

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