Jan 03, Colombo: Remittances from Sri Lankan migrant workers are estimated to exceed US$ 6 billion in 2012, the Central Bank predicted.
Last year's remittances increased 16.8 percent to an estimated US$ 6.007 billion from US$ 5.15 billion in 2011. The workers' remittances are 10 percent of the country's GDP in 2012.
In the first eight months of 2012, Sri Lanka's migrant workers remitted $ 3.9 billion, which is an increase of 15.2 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
Departures for foreign employment during the first half of 2012 increased by 9.9% to 139,092, over the previous year and migrant workers of the professional category increased by 33% bringing in more revenues, according to the Central Bank.
The Central Bank said the main rain reasons for the increase this year are also due among others, to incentives to encourage Sri Lankan migrants to open NRFC accounts and expansion in global branches of Sri Lankan commercial banks and ATM network mainly in the Middle East, Australia, France, Canada and Singapore.
With over 1.7 million Sri Lankans working abroad, migrant workers constitute 17 percent of Sri Lanka's working population.
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) targets remittances of US$ 10 billion by 2020.