Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora
Overview
 
The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora refers to the global diaspora
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

 of the people of Sri Lankan Tamil
Sri Lanka Tamils (native)
Sri Lankan Tamil people , or Ceylon Tamils also known as Eelam Tamils in Tamil, are a section of Tamil people native to the South Asia island state of Sri Lanka. According to anthropological evidences and archaeological evidences, Sri Lankan Tamils have a very long history in Sri Lankan history and...

 origin. It can be said to be a subset of the larger Sri Lankan
Sri Lankan diaspora
The Sri Lankan diaspora are Sri Lankan emigrants from Sri Lanka and their descendants that reside in a foreign country.-Expatriate workers:Expatriate workers to Sri Lankan have been a valuable export for the country. The number of expatriate workers have been ever growing as well as the remittances...

 as well as Tamil diaspora
Tamil diaspora
The Tamil diaspora is a demographic group of Tamil people of Indian or Sri Lankan origin who have settled in other parts of the world. Significant Tamil diaspora populations can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Middle East, Réunion, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji, Guyana,...

.

Like other diasporas, Sri Lankan Tamils are scattered and dispersed across the globe, with concentrations in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, USA, Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Seychelles
Seychelles
Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

 and Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. Significant segments of the Tamil diaspora prefer to be labeled "Eelam" or "Eezham" Tamils, as a reference to an aspired separate Tamil state
Tamil Eelam
Tamil Eelam , is the name given by certain Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to the independent state which they aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Tamil Eelam has no official status or recognition by any other state or authority...

 on the island of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Tamils were eager to take up the educational and economic opportunities available to them when Sri Lanka was under British colonial rule.

Many of the Vellalar
Vellalar
Vellalars were, originally, an elite caste of Tamil agricultural landlords in Tamil Nadu, Kerala states in India and in neighbouring Sri Lanka; they were the nobility, aristocracy of the ancient Tamil order and had close relations with the different royal dynasties...

 Jaffna Tamils
Sri Lanka Tamils (native)
Sri Lankan Tamil people , or Ceylon Tamils also known as Eelam Tamils in Tamil, are a section of Tamil people native to the South Asia island state of Sri Lanka. According to anthropological evidences and archaeological evidences, Sri Lankan Tamils have a very long history in Sri Lankan history and...

 availed themselves of the educational opportunities provided by the colonial authorities & missionaries and together with their hard work earned many government posts offered to locals by the British
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

.
In foreign lands under British rule, the British needed obedient, trusted, hard-working and skillful people to take up government posts, mainly as clerks.
Encyclopedia
The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora refers to the global diaspora
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

 of the people of Sri Lankan Tamil
Sri Lanka Tamils (native)
Sri Lankan Tamil people , or Ceylon Tamils also known as Eelam Tamils in Tamil, are a section of Tamil people native to the South Asia island state of Sri Lanka. According to anthropological evidences and archaeological evidences, Sri Lankan Tamils have a very long history in Sri Lankan history and...

 origin. It can be said to be a subset of the larger Sri Lankan
Sri Lankan diaspora
The Sri Lankan diaspora are Sri Lankan emigrants from Sri Lanka and their descendants that reside in a foreign country.-Expatriate workers:Expatriate workers to Sri Lankan have been a valuable export for the country. The number of expatriate workers have been ever growing as well as the remittances...

 as well as Tamil diaspora
Tamil diaspora
The Tamil diaspora is a demographic group of Tamil people of Indian or Sri Lankan origin who have settled in other parts of the world. Significant Tamil diaspora populations can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Middle East, Réunion, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji, Guyana,...

.

Like other diasporas, Sri Lankan Tamils are scattered and dispersed across the globe, with concentrations in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, USA, Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Seychelles
Seychelles
Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

 and Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. Significant segments of the Tamil diaspora prefer to be labeled "Eelam" or "Eezham" Tamils, as a reference to an aspired separate Tamil state
Tamil Eelam
Tamil Eelam , is the name given by certain Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to the independent state which they aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Tamil Eelam has no official status or recognition by any other state or authority...

 on the island of Sri Lanka.

British Colonial Period

The Sri Lankan Tamils were eager to take up the educational and economic opportunities available to them when Sri Lanka was under British colonial rule.

Many of the Vellalar
Vellalar
Vellalars were, originally, an elite caste of Tamil agricultural landlords in Tamil Nadu, Kerala states in India and in neighbouring Sri Lanka; they were the nobility, aristocracy of the ancient Tamil order and had close relations with the different royal dynasties...

 Jaffna Tamils
Sri Lanka Tamils (native)
Sri Lankan Tamil people , or Ceylon Tamils also known as Eelam Tamils in Tamil, are a section of Tamil people native to the South Asia island state of Sri Lanka. According to anthropological evidences and archaeological evidences, Sri Lankan Tamils have a very long history in Sri Lankan history and...

 availed themselves of the educational opportunities provided by the colonial authorities & missionaries and together with their hard work earned many government posts offered to locals by the British
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

.
In foreign lands under British rule, the British needed obedient, trusted, hard-working and skillful people to take up government posts, mainly as clerks. This led to the first wave of migrations by the Tamils to countries such as Malaysia (then Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

), Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and the then Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

Malaysia and Singapore

Ceylonese Tamils made up an overwhelming majority in the civil service of British Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 prior to independence. It was in Malaysia and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, that the term Ceylonese and Jaffnese were popularly used by the Sri Lankan Tamils to differentiate themselves from the larger Malaysian Indian population who were predominantly of Tamil origin.

After the Pangkor Treaty of 1874
Pangkor Treaty of 1874
The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was a treaty signed between the British and the Sultan of Perak. Signed on January 20, 1874, on the island of Pangkor off Perak, the treaty is significant in the history of the Malay states as it legitimized British control of the Malay rulers and paved the way for...

, the British embarked upon the construction of roads, railways, schools, hospitals and government offices in the Malay Peninsular, to develop the country and to increase its revenue.

"It was to meet those early problems that Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 looked to its older sister Ceylon for help and probably, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements secured the despatch to Perak
Perak
Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

 of the 2nd division of the Ceylon Pioneer Corp. "So it fell to the Ceylonese to survey the railways and to build and man them, to be apothecaries in the hospitals, to be technical assistants to qualified engineers and to staff the clerical services on which an expanding government was bound increasingly to depend.

In Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

, the Ceylon Tamil population was mainly concentrated in Brickfields
Brickfields
Brickfields is a small to medium-sized town and residential neighbourhood located just outside central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is known as Kuala Lumpur's Little India due to the high percentage of Indian residents and businesses.- History :In 1881, a flood swept through Kuala Lumpur following...

 and Sentul because of the proximity of the Administrative Centre of the Malayan Railway
Keretapi Tanah Melayu
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad or Malayan Railways Limited is the main rail operator in Peninsular Malaysia. The railway system dates back to the British colonial era, when it was first built to transport tin...

 (opposite the railway station) and the Sentul Workshop. The Government provided accommodation for the white and the blue collar workers in these areas. The Ceylon Tamils living in both these areas were devout Saivites and as they fervently believed that "no one should live in a place that has no Temple ", they soon began to organize themselve into Associations. This gave birth to the Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, Brickfields
Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, Brickfields
Sri Kandaswamy Kovil is a Hindu temple located along Jalan Scott, Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The temple is over a century old now.The temple is one of the most prominent Sri Lankan Tamil or Ceylonese Tamil temples in Malaysia. It is huge and showcases rich Sri Lankan Tamil architecture...

, which has become a landmark and tourist attraction in the city, showcasing Sri Lankan Tamil and Hindu architecture at its finest.

Many of the first Asian and non-white doctors and engineers in Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 were of Sri Lankan Tamil descent. The world's first Asian surgeon
Surgeon
In medicine, a surgeon is a specialist in surgery. Surgery is a broad category of invasive medical treatment that involves the cutting of a body, whether human or animal, for a specific reason such as the removal of diseased tissue or to repair a tear or breakage...

 was Dr S.S. Thiruchelvam, a Malayan of Ceylonese Tamil origin.

Former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for three decades...

 once said:
The Ceylonese community established many schools, banks, cultural societies, cooperatives and temples in Malaysia and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. Some good examples would be the Jaffnese Cooperative Society, Vivekananda Ashrama and the Vivekananda Tamil School
SMK Vivekananda, Brickfields
SMK Vivekananda or SMKV, also known as SMK VIVE among the local students, is one of the oldest school in Brickfields. It was previously known as Sekolah Menengah Tamil Vivekananda.-History:...

 in Brickfields
Brickfields
Brickfields is a small to medium-sized town and residential neighbourhood located just outside central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is known as Kuala Lumpur's Little India due to the high percentage of Indian residents and businesses.- History :In 1881, a flood swept through Kuala Lumpur following...

, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

.In 1958 The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress was established as a political party with the aim of giving support to the then Alliance party. MCC has continuously supported the Barisan Nasional and the Government. It was formed to promote and preserve the Political, Educational, Social and Cultural aspects of the Malaysian Ceylonese Community. To date MCC has seen six President's :-
1. Mr. M.W Navaratnam AMN,JP (1958–1969)
2. Senator Tan Sri Datuk Dr. C.Sinnadurai PSD,PNBS,DPMP,MN,SMK,SMB,PJK (1970–1983)
3. Tan Sri Dato' Seri V.Jeyaratnam PSM,SPM,STP,JP (1983–1987)
4. Dato' Dr N.Arumugasamy DSIJ,JSM (1988–1995)
5. Dato' Dr D.M.Thuraiappah SPM,AMN,ASA (1996–2003)
6. Dato 'Dr NKS Tharmaseelan DPTJ,PMC,ANS (2004–Present)
Today MCC makes its way in this ever changing globe under the dynamic leadership of Dato Dr NKS Tharmaseelan. After 50years of hibernation MCC has now become visible.It must also be noted that it was only on the 27th of February 2009 was MCC formally registered with the Malasian Election's Commission (SPR)http://mcc.org.my
Many Ceylonese were also involved in the independence movements in Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. In Singapore, there are many current and past ministers who are of Ceylonese Tamil in origin and Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is a national language. Sinnathamby Rajaratnam
Sinnathamby Rajaratnam
Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, better known as "S. Rajaratnam", , was a Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from 1980–85, and a long-serving Minister and member of the Cabinet from 1959-88. He is regarded as one of the founding fathers of independent Singapore as it achieved self-government in 1959 and...

 was the former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Singapore and regarded as one of the founding fathers of Singapore. His death in 2006 was marked with a state funeral by the government of Singapore. The Singapore flag was flown at half mast at all public buildings and former Prime Minister and friend Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for three decades...

 cried when giving his eulogy.

Even today, the Sri Lankan community in Malaysia and Singapore is an upwardly mobile community taking up many professional and government posts. One of Malaysia's and South East Asia's richest men is billionaire
Billionaire
A billionaire, in countries that use the short scale number naming system, is a person who has a net worth of at least one billion units of a given currency, usually the United States dollar, Euro, or Pound sterling. Forbes magazine updates a complete list of U.S. dollar billionaires around the...

 Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan
Ananda Krishnan
Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan is a Malaysian businessman and philanthropist of Tamil origin. Nicknamed A-K, he is estimated to have a net worth of US$9.6 billion according to Forbes' latest annual list of wealthiest people, making him the second wealthiest in Southeast Asia behind Robert Kuok,...

, who regularly makes it to Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine's billionaire list.

Pre-1983

During the period post-independence and prior to Black July
Black July
Black July is the commonly used name for the anti-Tamil pogrom and attacks carried out by mobs in Sri Lanka which began on July 23, 1983. The riots occurred following a deadly ambush by a Tamil militant organization known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which killed 13 Sri Lanka Army soldiers...

 1983, there was not much migration.

However, this changed as the government of Sri Lanka, which tended to be controlled by Sinhalese
Sinhalese people
The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group,forming the majority of Sri Lanka,constituting 74% of the Sri Lankan population.They number approximately 15 million worldwide.The Sinhalese identity is based on language, heritage and religion. The Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language and the...

 started introducing policies, such as the Sinhala Only Act
Sinhala Only Act
The Sinhala Only Act was a law passed in the Ceylonese parliament in 1956...

, which curtailed opportunities Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Before 1956, Tamils were proportionately over-represented in the civil service because of their high achievement and perceived preferential treatment by the Colonial Rulers. Until 1956, this was their passport to government employment. As Cheran (2000: 110) argues, "[t]he class dimension of the Sinhala Only Act must not be forgotten. The battle of the languages was in reality a battle for government jobs." Unemployment among [the majority] Sinhala youth generated considerable political pressure for the government to act in a manner that ironically consolidated identity based on nation, despite the economic antecedents to such identity formation. http://web.mit.edu/cis/www/migration/seminars/Discussion_Hyndman.pdf#search='Sri%20Lanka%20Tamil%20migration'
Although the Sinhala Only Act was partially repealed in 1959, it did not stop Tamils leaving Sri Lanka searching for better employment opportunities.

Post-1983 (The Scattering)

The eruption of the civil conflict in Sri Lanka between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was a separatist militant organization formerly based in northern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 by Vellupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a violent secessionist and nationalist campaign to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil...

 saw mass migration of Tamils to escape the hardships and bitter life of a country torn at war. (See also Black July
Black July
Black July is the commonly used name for the anti-Tamil pogrom and attacks carried out by mobs in Sri Lanka which began on July 23, 1983. The riots occurred following a deadly ambush by a Tamil militant organization known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which killed 13 Sri Lanka Army soldiers...

)

Initially, it was professionals such as doctors and engineers who emigrated. This was followed by the poorer segments of the community who sold everything they had to be able to get a passport and ticket and seek asylum in foreign lands. The bitter ethnic fighting in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 had driven over 800,000 Sri Lankan Tamils from their homeland, forcing them to find refuge around the globe.

Australia

Among the first Sri Lankan immigrants to Australia were those recruited to work on the cane plantations of northern Queensland in the late 19th century. There are also reports of Sri Lankan workers in the gold-mining regions of New South Wales and the pearling industry in Broome, Western Australia. Estimates of numbers during this time range from 500 to 1,000 persons; the 1901 Australian Census recorded 609 Sri Lanka-born.

There was no significant migration from Sri Lanka before 1948, when the country gained independence from Britain. When the Sinhalese began to assert the power of their majority, however, many Burghers
Burgher people
The Burghers are a Eurasian ethnic group, historically from Sri Lanka, consisting for the most part of male-line descendants of European colonists from the 16th to 20th centuries and local women, with some minorities of Swedish, Norwegian, French and Irish.Today the mother tongue of the Burghers...

 or English-speakers of Sri Lankan - European descent and Tamils began to migrate to other countries.

Following implementation of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, which introduced policies excluding non-Europeans from entry to Australia, those of non-European appearance were precluded from entry. Thus the Burghers alone were allowed to enter Australia.

In the early 1970s, the restrictions on entry of non-Europeans were eased and a new wave of Tamils, Sinhalese and Burghers entered the country. Between 1961 and 1971, the Sri Lanka-born population rose from 3,433 to 9,091 and again to 22,516 by the time of the 1986 Census.

In the period of 1986 - 1996, the Sri Lanka-born community in Australia has doubled in size. The upsurge of migration from Sri Lanka has resulted from the continuing conflict between Tamil separatists and the Sri Lankan Government. The number of humanitarian entrants has increased since the introduction in January 1995 of the Special Assistance Category (SAC) Class 215 for Sri Lankans. The most recent wave of migrants to Australia includes Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s who have strong cultural and political consciousness. Since 1991, there has also seen significant migration from Sri Lanka under the Family Migration, Onshore Protection, and Skilled Migration categories.

Census 2006 recorded a Sri Lankan population in Australia at 70,908. Census estimated the people who use Tamil at home as 32,700 and who use Sinhalese at home as 29,055. Sydney has 53,000 Indians and 18,000 Sri Lankans.

Census 2001 recorded 53,610 Sri Lanka-born persons in Australia, an increase of 14 per cent from 1996. The 2001 distribution by State and Territory showed Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 had the largest number with 26,670 followed by New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 (16,910), Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 (3,990) and Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

 (2,970).

In 2001, of Sri Lanka-born people aged 15 years and over, 57.1 per cent held some form of educational or occupational qualification compared with 46.2 per cent for all Australians. Among the Sri Lanka born, 37.2 per cent had higher qualifications and 10.3 per cent had certificate level qualifications. Of the Sri Lanka-born with no qualifications, 24.9 per cent were still attending an educational institution.

Among Sri Lanka-born people aged 15 years and over, the participation rate in the labour force was 67.5 per cent and the unemployment rate was 7.9 per cent. The corresponding rates in the total Australian population were 63.0 and 7.4 per cent respectively. Of the 30,500 Sri Lanka-born who were employed, 51.7 per cent were employed in a Skilled occupation, 30.8 per cent in Semi-Skilled and 17.4 per cent in Unskilled. The corresponding rates in the total Australian population were 52.6, 28.9 and 18.6 per cent respectively. http://www.ozlanka.com/guides/srilanka-born.htm http://tormel.brinkster.net/sl_comm/sl_comm.html

Canada

Tamil Canadian or Canadian Tamils have the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of Sri Lanka with over 300,000 Tamils living in Canada, and Toronto being the largest city with Sri Lankan Tamils in the world, with over 250,000 Tamils living in Toronto alone. Canadians of Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 ethnic origins mostly from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and other countries such as India
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

, Malaysia, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

, Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

 and Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

. It is estimated that the Tamil Diaspora
Tamil diaspora
The Tamil diaspora is a demographic group of Tamil people of Indian or Sri Lankan origin who have settled in other parts of the world. Significant Tamil diaspora populations can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Middle East, Réunion, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji, Guyana,...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 ranges from between 250,000 to 400,000. From a population of fewer than 2,000 Tamils in 1983, it has become one of the largest visible minority population groups within the Greater Toronto Area
Greater Toronto Area
The Greater Toronto Area is the largest metropolitan area in Canada, with a 2006 census population of 5.5 million. The Greater Toronto Area is usually defined as the central city of Toronto, along with four regional municipalities surrounding it: Durham, Halton, Peel, and York...

 (GTA). More than 25,000 were added between 1984 and 1992; in the 1991 census, Tamils were the fastest-growing ethnic group in Metropolitan Toronto
Metropolitan Toronto
The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto was a senior level of municipal government in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area from 1954 to 1998. It was created out of York County and was a precursor to the later concept of a regional municipality, being formed of smaller municipalities but having more...

. Further Canada's Tamil population is thought to constitute the largest Sri Lankan diaspora
Canadians of Sri Lankan origin
Sri Lankan Canadians refers to people from Sri Lanka who have arrived and settled in Canada. Among these immigrants include members from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Malay and Burgher ethnicities. As of 2006 there are 103,625 Sri Lankans in Canada....

 in the world and Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 is "the city with the largest number of Sri Lankan Tamils in the world".

The Tamils of Toronto and the rest of Canada own many businesses in especially in the Greater Toronto Area. They own stores such as Tamil supermarkets, Tamil restaurants, and even other franchise restaurants such as Tim Hortons, Burger Kings, and Mc Donalds. They work as real estate agents, lawyers, doctors, bankers, and many high level jobs in the country. The Tamil peoples biggest population consists of the younger Tamil generations of the ages of 14 to 28, with most of them being students.

Germany

In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Over 60,000 German Tamils are highly organised and, though traditionally fluent in English, they have managed to learn German to the extent of speaking it as fluent as the natives. They are said to own two TV channels and 11 radio stations which are in Tamil. They own many businesses too contributing to the national economic growth.

Religious fervor among Tamil Germans intensified as their numbers swelled. Due to the inspirational encouragement of Hawaii Subramaniaswami – the disciple of Yoga Swamigal – two well organized Hindu temples – Sidhivinayagar Kovil and the kamadchi Amman Kovil –have in place in the city of Hamm
Hamm
Hamm is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany. It is located in the northeastern part of the Ruhr area. As of December 2003 its population was 180,849. The city is situated between the A1 motorway and A2 motorway...

 since 1984. According to the journal Hinduism Today, the youth are being well trained in their religion and culture at home and in weekend schools in rented halls using texts from Sri Lanka. They even wear Hindu symbols of Vibuthi and Tilakam. http://www.sangam.org/articles/view2/?uid=585

The second, third Generations of Tamils have integrated very well in to the German society contributing in all skilled professions. Tamils are known as Hard workers . The identity of Hindus can be seen in city Hamm where the Temple was built with 17 meter high Gopuram and the layout rebuild in Germany after Kamadchi-Ampal Temple in South India.

France

Over 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamils living in France
In only 10 years, "Little Jaffna", located at the last stretch of the winding street of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis in the 10th arrondissement, between metros
Paris Métro
The Paris Métro or Métropolitain is the rapid transit metro system in Paris, France. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km ...

 Gare de Nord and La Chapelle
La Chapelle (Paris Metro)
La Chapelle is a station on Paris Métro Line 2, on the border of the 10th and 18th arrondissements above the Boulevard de la Chapelle. The station is connected to the Gare du Nord and the Gare du Nord metro station on lines 4 and 5....

, has sprung to life and begun to truly flourish. It is commonly mistakenly called by the average Parisian as Little Bombay. http://www.parisfranceguide.com:81/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=41

The vast majority of Parisian Tamils fled Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 as refugees in the 1980s, escaping the violent civil conflict. The French Prefecture was initially quite reluctant about granting asylum to Tamils. In 1987, the Office for the Protection of Refugees (OFPRA) gained in power and opened up a period of nearly systematic asylum. This liberal period eventually tapered off in the 90s as a result of new European measures designed against an influx in immigration. Today, there are about 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamils living in France, of which the greatest number live in Paris. Little Jaffna is also famous for the annual chariot
Temple car
Temple cars are chariots used to carry representations of Hindu gods. The car is usually used on festival days, when many people pull the cart....

 procession held during Ganesha Chathurthi. Both the area and event have become popular tourist attractions.

Other European countries

Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 has about 50,000 Tamils, the majority of whom are from Sri Lanka who have gone as refugees. Although they are well entrenched in the country and integrated with the local community, yet they are actively alive to their Hindu religious and Tamil cultural links. Temples, cultural festivals, international conferences, seminars and meetings draw a large number of the Tamil Diaspora from other European countries to the various Swiss cities, so much so that it has become the nerve centre of Tamil cultural activism. Tamil language classes, dance and music classes run by voluntary bodies are fast increasing. First Generations of Srilankan-Tamils majority work in Restaurant and overtook through their hard work the role as chef cook, Restaurant management, serving Customers. The recognition earned as honest, hard working people throughout the country. Second generation has completed well educated skilled force to Swiss economy, working in finance, bank, Insurance,management. Large community established in Zurich with a place known as little Jaffna. Kanton Basel, Bern. Geneva.Most of the Tamils do reside in German part of Switzerland.

Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 has more than 20,000 Tamils, the majority of whom are refugees from Sri Lanka.

Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 has about 13,000 Tamils, most of whom are Sri Lankan refugees. Around 7000 live in the capital Oslo.

Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 has a Tamil population of about 2,000 which is of recent origin.

Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 has over 7,000 Tamils, the majority being refugees. There are two well-patronized Hindu temples – one for Vinayagar and another for Abhirami – and the Tamil population has got well adapted to the Danish environment. http://www.sangam.org/articles/view2/?uid=585

See also Sri Lankan American
Sri Lankan American
Sri Lankan Americans are Americans of Sri Lankan descent. Sri Lankan Americans are persons of Sri Lankan origin from various Sri Lankan ethnic backgrounds who are born or raised in the United States or are naturalized citizens of the U.S. They incorporate American values into their lives and...

s for Tamils in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

See also

  • Sri Lankan Tamils of India
  • Malaysian Ceylonese Congress
    Malaysian Ceylonese Congress
    The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress is a political party in Malaysia. Formed in 1958, the MCC was established as a political party with the aim of giving support to the then Alliance party. MCC has continuously supported the Barisan National. MCC was the brainchild of the late Mr...

     (MCC)
  • Indians in Singapore
  • List of Sri Lankan Tamils
  • List of loan words in Sri Lankan Tamil
  • Sri Lankan Tamil Slang
  • Tamil diaspora
    Tamil diaspora
    The Tamil diaspora is a demographic group of Tamil people of Indian or Sri Lankan origin who have settled in other parts of the world. Significant Tamil diaspora populations can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Middle East, Réunion, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji, Guyana,...


Books

  • CIC [Citizenship and Immigration Canada]. 2001 'Facts and Figures 2000: Immigration Overview', (Ottawa: Ministry of Public Works and Government Services Canada) 1996 'Facts and Figures 1996: Immigration Overview', accessed on May 9, 2001 at URL: www.cic.gc.ca/English/pub/facts96/4e.html

  • VAITHEESPARA, R.1999 'Tamils' in P. M. Magosci (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Canada's Peoples. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), 1247–1254

  • WAYLAND, S. 2004 'Nationalist networks and Transnational Opportunities: the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora', Review of International Studies 30: 405-426.

  • SRISKANDARAJAH, D. 2002 'The Migration-Development Nexus: Sri Lanka case study', paper prepared for the Centre for Development Research study: Migration- Development Links: Evidence and Policy Options, Magdalen College, Oxford, UK

External links

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