|Wednesday, 21 July 2004|
Solve M-E expatriate workers' problems, says Prof. Warnapala
Problems of expatriate workers in the Middle East must be addressed, as they contribute significantly to get the much needed foreign exchange to the country, Deputy Foreign Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala said.
"As these expatriate workers have turned to be the leading foreign exchange earner for the country, we have a prime duty to safeguard their interests," the Deputy Minister said.
He was speaking at a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held under his Chairmanship to discuss labour issues and other matters relating to the Middle East Region.
On Prof. Warnapala's directive, it was decided that this committee should meet regularly to discuss problems of this nature and sort out ways and means of solving the problems.
Javid Yusuf, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister, Mahinda Gammanpila, Secretary, Ministry of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment, W. M. Seneviratne, Director General of Middle East and Africa Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Chairman, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Suraj D. Dandeniya, President of the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies and other Heads of Division of the Ministry participated.
The officials also discussed the non-payment of salaries, resident visas, fees, sexual harassment and assaults; violation of contractual obligations by employers on food, accommodation and wages; immigration procedures, custom rules and regulations applicable for the expatriate community; violation of local immigration rules and regulations and remedies that can be worked out; and introduction of bilateral agreements etc. to ameliorate various grievances of the Sri Lankan workers.
Produced by Lake House