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In rural Sri Lanka, remittances from housemaids working in the Middle East figure prominently in household livelihood strategies. This article examines the impact of housemaid remittances on living standards and suggests measures to maximise the benefits of remittances for recipient households while minimising the personal and financial costs of migration. The effectiveness of migration as a household strategy depends on a decent overseas job with a reliable income, a reduction in the costs of migrating and remitting, and the responsible management of household welfare and finances by recipients, including the maintenance of local income sources while the migrant is away.

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