Proposed law to update Sri Lankan border control system with biometrics

Sri Lanka’s government is planning to pass a new Immigration and Emigration Act to cover the introduction of electronic and biometric systems for border crossings in the country, local outlet the Sunday Times reports.

The new law will replace an act passed in 1948, which has become ineffective at dealing with the movement of people in and out of the country, and has contributed to skills deficits and labor shortages. The government hopes the new act will also help address issues related to migrant rights, human trafficking, forced labor and modern slavery, voting rights and governance in migration, according to the report. In addition to biometrics, the act covers processing applications and back end system monitoring.

A separate visa category will be created to facilitate employment of foreign nationals, allowing the large population of foreign students in the country to join the labor market. More than 2 million Sri Lankans employed elsewhere around the world could also benefit. Worker remittances make up the highest portion of foreign exchange in the country, the Sunday Times reports.

Sri Lanka launched a new national ID card in 2017 with fingerprint biometrics.

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