Anyone can visit anywhere but the landlords never allow those ‘visitors’ to stay forever or at least for several months or a year. It is because they are just visitors and not family members or relations. This is the simple bitter truth that a large number of Sri Lankans who try to go abroad on tourist / visit visas do not understand.
Last week Sri Lankan print media revealed that hereafter no Sri Lankan with tourist / visit visa will be allowed to work in Oman. This is positive news from the side of all Sri Lankans who are not crooks and obey rules, regulations and generally the law of the land. But this news will shock another set of individuals and groups. They are those who try to run away from Sri Lanka using anything available to them. And there are gangs which provide fabricated and evenoriginal tourist / visit visas for those seeking foreign jobs.
The Sri Lankan Government can make a formal request from all foreign embassies and foreign High Commissions in Sri Lanka to ban all Sri Lankans with tourist / visit visas from working in their respective countries. This move will save a lot of foreign exchange to the country because then Sri Lankan authorities will not be required to spend any money for air tickets to bring them back and ensure the welfare of such persons who come and stay in Sri Lankan Embassies abroad after their `plan’ fails or after their `agents’ abandon them.
All Sri Lankan citizens should very clearly understand that they need to register themselves with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) before departing for foreign employment and they need to have a Residence Permit or residence visa from the respective country he/she hopes to visit and work. Without those documents no one can go abroad and work as they wish, earn money and come back to Sri Lanka without any trouble. All the others who do not have a Residence Permit are being considered as individuals who illegally entered that specific country and those foreign Governments can take legal action against them.
Usually a tourist visa can only be used for tourism and leisure purposes whereas a visit visa can be used for business meetings, to attend a seminar, or for any other purpose. With a tourist visa, you can stay for 14 days or 30 days and it is extendable for a 40 days period whereas with most visit visas you can stay for 90 days. But this is not a Residence Permit to stay and work.
A residence permit is a document or card required for a foreigner allowing him / her to reside in a country for a fixed length of time such as two years. The Residence Permit holder can work, earn money and send the money to his/her home country without any issue.
There is another extremely dangerous situation faced by all Sri Lankan illegal migrants who do not have valid original Residence Permits. They can become the victims of human traffickers and body organ harvesting mafias all over the world. Once a Sri Lankan individual gets caught by those crooks, their dead bodies without certain body organs arrive in Sri Lanka in caskets. Once post mortems are held, the family members and relations discover that the organs of their loved ones are missing. But by that time it is too late to do anything.
Once a Sri Lankan goes abroad without a valid original Residence Permit, he/she cannot seek the assistance of the law enforcement authorities in that specific country if they get caught by criminal gangs or otherwise fall into trouble.
We watch the agony of such individuals and groups of individuals over the television news. Sometimes they work in dangerous and unhealthy environments without any salary. Rarely a few lucky individuals get the help of the media and expose their plight.
Our literacy rate is 92.38 percent but still some Sri Lankans go abroad by fishing boats etc and some go abroad without a valid visa. Some go abroad without knowing their destination and one such young couple from Jaffna was arrested at BIA last week. Therefore it is the responsibility of all relevant authorities to educate the general public through main media and social media on the relevant original documents they require in order to go abroad and work. They can educate the people on certain `signs’ that will help them to identify crooks and genuine legally registered agents.
The authorities can simply request the public to check their documents from the respective foreign missions before paying any money to crooks or the relevant authorities can provide this facility to the people through foreign missions in Sri Lanka. It will save the hard earned money of many Sri Lankans.