Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry says 38,000 citizens in 143 countries want to return

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said 38,000 Sri Lankans including dual citizens who had registered at an online portal had wanted to return while 3,600 had been repatriated since April 21.

Those wanting to return include 3,078 students, 4,040 short term visa holders, 27,854 migrant workers, 3527 dependents and 484 duel citizens and others.

Many migrant workers whose contracts have expired cannot return to Sri Lanka because inbound travel was halted on March 19, to help Sri Lanka’s contact tracing and quarantine efforts.

The Foreign Ministry said 78,000 overseas Sri Lankans had registered at its contact Sri Lanka portal, which was built free of charge by TekGeeks, a Colombo-based technology company working with the ICT Agency.

Acting Director General, Economic Affairs (Multilateral) and Overseas Sri Lankans Anzul Jhan said officers manning the portal 25 hours had answered 7,788 questions mainly on assistance on repatriation and consular issues, but also relating to other operational and policy matters.

About a one third of Sri Lanka’s 67 missions were run by Sri Lanka Foreign Service officers in acting capacity.

Foreign Secretary Aryasinha had said that young SLFS officers who were acting in the posts of Heads of Mission had to face high pressure situations, take swift and calculated decisions.

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