Lanka to reform migrant worker sponsorship laws
Sri Lanka is set to seek assistance from Middle Eastern nations, to
reform migrant worker sponsorship laws, that require the consent of the
employer to change sponsors or exit the country of employment. The Sri
Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said yesterday that as its
proposals to enact such changes to visa provisions had been received
positively by the Government of Bahrain, the proposed new laws would
come into effect from August 01.
All new migrant employees leaving for Bahrain from August 1 are
expected to enjoy these amended visa provisions.
According to the amended rules, the Government of Bahrain would hold
greater authority over employers when it comes to dispute resolution
between the employers and employees.
With the consent of the authorities, workers would be able to change
employers without losing legal status in the country of employment.
The new provisions is also expected to facilitate swift repatriation
of migrant workers in cases where repatriation is unavoidable, or if the
worker wishes to return to Sri Lanka, by eliminating exit visas that
require the consent of the sponsor.
The SLBFE said yesterday that they were negotiating with UAE, Saudi
Arabia and Qatar to get the nod for similar reforms.
The Government has taken steps to improve the protection of its
migrant worker rights, specially for domestic workers in Middle-East
The Foreign Employment and Welfare Ministry which comes under the
purview of Minister Keheliya Rambukwella recently announced a set of
proposals under a National Policy on Labour migration.
The SLBFE, headed by Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka, considered as the
Ministry's navigating arm in the promotion of foreign employment too has
come up with new vistas to propel the sector as Sri Lanka's Number one
foreign exchange earner.
Authorities had taken a number of steps to streamline the process.