All Lankans wanting to return home will be brought back - Minister Prasanna Ranatunga | Daily News


All Lankans wanting to return home will be brought back - Minister Prasanna Ranatunga

Industrial Exports, Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday assured that the Government will be making all efforts to bring back all Sri Lankans living and working overseas who are wanting to return home on account of COVID 19.

The Minister was commenting on the employees who were working in the Gulf region and added that the Government was already making efforts to do that.

He said that the Government, while working to the fullest to control the spread of COVID 19 within the country, was also making all efforts to bring back Sri Lankan overseas who were keen to return home.

The Minister also pointed out that there was a strategy which was being worked out to get these expatriate workers to register with the High Commissions and Embassies overseas and to use SriLankan flights to bring them back home.

The Minister said that priority being given to pregnant mothers, small children and special cases such as heart patients. With those exceptions, all arrivals were based on the chronological order of registration. The Minister also refuted allegations that there were favouritism in certain cases and that the Government was yielding to external pressures from certain quarters.

He also said that Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had spoken to his Kuwaiti counterpart regarding the repatriation of the Sri Lankan expatriate workers in that country whose visas had been completed. After that formality was completed, then arrangements would be made for the expat workers who were registered with the embassy there to be brought back.

With the completion of the returning of all employees now in the Gulf region, arrangements would also be made for the return of the expatriates in Maldives, Bangladesh and others and that the Presidential Secretariat and the Foreign Ministry and have made the requisite arrangements regarding those as well, he said.

The Minister also clarified that the Government was fully aware of the difficult times that these expatriates were going through in those countries but said that the return of those people had to be met with the circumstances which prevailed in this country as well. 

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