An insurance scheme for migrant workers has benefited families who have lost their loved ones from COVID-19 while working in a foreign country.
With over 1.7m Sri Lankans working overseas, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment had in 2019 entered into an agreement with the government owned Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation to provide insurance cover to these migrant workers against death while working overseas. Under this agreement all migrants registered with the bureau will receive compensation of $2,707 for death while working overseas. The compensation amount was increased to $3,248 in March 2020 and now also includes death from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The insurance company has received 14 claims from migrant workers so far, out of which nine were working in Saudi Arabia, four in Kuwait and one in Dubai. The bureau is taking steps to enrol more overseas workers under the insurance scheme. Over the past six months, it has paid $142,559 as insurance premium to cover 40,143 migrant workers who have registered with the bureau and gone abroad for employment.