Facilitation of outward remittances to Sri Lankan students and those on short term visits abroad
April 23, 2020
1. With regard to foreign remittances, on 19th March 2020 Foreign Exchange Department of the Central Bank issued a directive to Authorized Dealers on Release of Foreign Currency Notes for Travel Purposes with a ceiling of USD 5,000. (Annex I). Please note that this is not applicable and/or arisen in the context of persons who have already left Sri Lanka for short term visits.
- Therefore, persons who have gone abroad for studies (under student or equivalent visas) or for medical purposes or on their behalf, persons in Sri Lanka are permitted to remit funds from Sri Lanka to cover expenses of university/tuition/training fees, living expenses, medical charges or as any related fees etc. through Authorized Dealers, that is already permitted as Current transactions under the Foreign Exchange Act (FEA).
- Further, on 9th April 2020 Central Bank issued a Press Release on ” The Government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Introduce Further Measures to Preserve the Foreign Currency Reserve Position of Sri Lanka” (Annex II) which also clearly states that suspension is only on foreign currency remittances pertaining to capital transactions and NOT current transactions, (i.e. for educational and medical purposes, living expenses, etc.)
- Persons who have gone abroad for pursuing education (i.e. students) are recognized as persons resident in Sri Lanka for the purposes of FEA. Accordingly, such students can obtain Electronic Fund Transfer Cards (EFTCs) (i.e. credit/ debit cards) from Authorized Dealers in terms of the Directions issued under FEA to that effect.
- If anyone stranded abroad need to get his/her credit limit enhanced, it is a decision of the respective Authorized Dealer and there are no credit limits imposed under FEA on EFTCs.
- Persons who have gone abroad for short term purposes (other than the persons who have migrated or those who have left SL for employment abroad) are permitted to obtain EFTCs from ADs for making payments in foreign exchange to persons resident outside Sri Lanka in respect of personal nature current transactions.
- Foreign currency earners who have to repay loans in foreign currency and whose incomes have been adversely affected due to the Covid-19 outbreak can obtain a three (03) months postponement of repayment of loans. These borrowers should contact the respective banks before 30 April 2020.
Sri Lanka High commission in Canberra
22 April 2020