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History, Challenges, and Migration Issues: Sri Lankan Tamils and the UK Connection

Sri Lankan Tamils popularly known as Ceylon Tamils, are Tamils who are indigenous to the South Asian Island country of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's Tamils are largely concentrated in the northern and eastern areas. In the north of Sri Lanka, Tamils descend from residents of the Jaffna Kingdom, while in the east, they are descended from chieftains of the Vannimai tribe. According to anthropological and archaeological data, Sri Lankan Tamils have a long history in Sri Lanka, dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE, unlike the Indian Tamils who were brought to the island as plantation workers. The Tamils of Sri Lanka are predominantly Hindus, however, there is a sizable Christian component. Sri Lankan Tamil dialects are known for their archaism and preservation of terms that are no longer in common usage in Tamil Nādu, India.

Sri Lanka and Britain had a rich and complex history. The British arrived in Sri Lanka in 1796 and gradually gained control of the island from the Portuguese. In 1802, under the Treaty of Amiens, Sri Lanka officially came under British rule. The British expanded their control over the island, establishing a plantation economy based on cash crops such as tea, coffee, and rubber. The British introduced a new administrative system, transforming Sri Lanka into a crown colony. They implemented policies that benefited the plantation owners but had a detrimental impact on the local population, particularly the indigenous Sinhalese and Tamil communities. During this time, Sri Lankan elites started visiting Britain and developed good English-speaking skills. They had been used as a front-line base against Japan during World War II by the British. Finally, after the independence movement, they were given freedom in 1948.

After independence, Sri Lanka faced several challenges, including ethnic tensions between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. These tensions eventually led to a protracted civil war between the government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which lasted from 1983 to 2009. This led to a widespread diaspora of Tamils all over the world as refugees and asylum seekers. There are 2 million Sri Lankan Tamils in the UK who have been significantly contributing to the Growth of the country.

However, because Tamils from Sri Lanka now desire better job possibilities, they attempt to enter the UK illegally using false passports with the assistance of agents for a large fee. It is found that 70% to 80% of people coming from Sri Lanka are on fake passports. However, after arriving in the UK, they discover that the work opportunities they were promised are false and that they have been duped. As a result, they seek asylum from the government. Because of the large number of asylum claims, this has become a major issue for the UK government. They have requested assistance from the Sri Lankan government to alleviate the situation.



Edited by Fahima Afrin





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Tags: #migrants #illegal #srilanka #ukandsrilanka #diaspora #fakepassports #ukgovt #tamils


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