24X7 helpline launched by Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi | Daily News


24X7 helpline launched by Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi

The Sri Lankan Embassy has launched various community outreach programmes, including a 24-hour toll-free helpline number (800119119). The embassy has started a monthly medical camp and counselling sessions, and extended mobile consular service to Ras Al Khaimah. All these programmes are undertaken on Fridays.

"On the first Friday of the month, we are in Al Ain to help resolve consular and labour issues, renew passports and attest certificates. We are in Ras Al Khaimah on every fourth Friday. Two new services are medical camps on every second Friday and counselling services given to expats on the third Friday," H.K.K. Ashoka Jayasundara, Minister Counsellor (Labour), Sri Lanka Embassy, said.

Recently, the embassy conducted a blood donation drive and a medical camp to mark the 72nd anniversary of independence of Sri Lanka and 40 years of diplomatic relations with the UAE.

10,000 expats visit embassy

There are around 300,000 Sri Lankan expats in the UAE, with over 60,000 in Abu Dhabi. More than 10,000 expats visited the embassy last year with their problems.

"Around 200 expats come to the embassy every week seeking help. We have 15 to 20 expats who benefit from services in Al Ain. Overall, the embassy attended to more than 10,000 expats last year. They discuss their labour issues and some need consular assistance," Jayasundara noted.

Meanwhile, officials from the embassy and the Consulate General visited Tadbeer, Tawjeeh and Twafouq centres in the industrial area of Musaffah. The missions, led by the ambassador, discussed with centres' officials ways to promote awareness among blue-collar workers.

"We seek to increase the level of cooperation between these centres and the embassy to provide productive and inclusive services to workers. We discussed the possibility for the embassy to be a part of the mediation process between employers and employees."

36,000 calls for help

The free-of-charge helpline 800119119 was started following some 36,000 calls received last year on the embassy's landline number. Expatriates can now also contact the hotline in case of an emergency with regards to coronavirus.

"We receive over 100 phone calls daily from our nationals on the general numbers. Making a call is an additional expense for the people, mostly workers. So the embassy wanted to have a dedicated helpline facility. The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment collaborated with the embassy to successfully implement this task. The helpline will enable us to provide better service and free of cost to our nationals," Jayasundara added.

(Source: Khaleej times)

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