Under an agreement signed in 1964, India pledged to repatriate 525,000 of the 975,000 persons of Indian origin (Tamils) then on the island, while Ceylon agreed to absorb 300,000 and grant them Ceylonese citizenship. Of the remaining 150,000, 75,000 were repatriated by a separate agreement concluded in 1974, and an equal number became citizens of Sri Lanka.
In recent years, many Sri Lankan workers have migrated to work in Middle Eastern countries. Others—over 200,000 in all— have emigrated to Western Europe, Australia, and North America, in part as a result of the Tamil insurgency.
Due to the military activities in 1995 and 1996, an estimated 650,000 people have been internally displaced. As of May 1997, India's Tamil Nadu state had around 56,000 refugees from Sri Lanka with another 36,000 throughout India. Repatriation to Sri Lanka has ceased since the military conflicts started again in 1995. Over 54,000 refugees have returned from southern India since 1992. In 2000, the net migration rate was -1.7 migrants per 1,000 population. There were 397,000 migrants living in Sri Lanka that year. Worker remittances amounted to $1,142,000,000, or 7% of GDP. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.