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Writ issued on SLBFE

The Court of Appeal issued notice on the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) in a writ case challenging a Circular issued by the SLBFE, that would allegedly render nugatory the statutory requirement of a licensed foreign employment agency to be a member of the ALFEA.

The Bench comprised Justice Sathya Hettige PC and Justice Anil Gooneratne. Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardane for the petitioner submitted that the SLBFE had taken a decision that the submission of the membership certificates issued by the petitioner was unnecessary for obtaining a new license or the the renewal of their licenses with the SLBFE by employment agencies.

The counsel submitted that the decision contained in the Chairmanís circular dated March 31, 2009 and was effective from May 15.

The counsel submitted that the decision was in violation of the SLBFE Act and would render the mandatory requirement obsolete for all licensees to become member of the petitioner. He submitted that the decision of the SLBFE was unlawful and ultra vires.

The petitioner cited SLBFE, its Chairman, the Board of Directors, the Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, the Secretary to the Ministry and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner ALFEA stated that it was incorporated under the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Act and was supposed to make recommendations to the SLBFE with regard to the promotion and regulation of employment, to advise and assist in the promotion of employment opportunities outside Sri Lanka, to formulate a code of conduct for licensees and to make representations to the SLBFE and to the Minister on matters relating to the recruitment of Sri Lankans for migrant employments. The petitioner stated that it rendered an invaluable assistance to the licensed Employment Agencies.

The petitioner also sought Prohibition order restraining the respondents from renewing the existing licenses or issuing new licenses for the employment agencies who are not members of the petitioner and an order of Mandamus compelling the respondents to ensure that every agency should become and continue to be members of the petitioner.

Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardane instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for the petitioner. The notice would be returnable on July 13.

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