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Thursday, 10 September 2009

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Questions and AnswersDual Citizenship

Question: My grandson is a Japanese national possessing a Japanese Passport. Having studied in an International college in Sri Lanka his whole ambition is to enter the aviation arena having undergone an Aviation course in a foreign country and came here to Sri Lanka as a fully qualified pilot and seeks employment with a Sri Lanka Airline.

But it seems that the SLPF never entertains applications from foreign individuals.

Applying for dual citizenship has become a problem for him as the Japanese government or its Embassy, never entertains applications for dual citizenship.

As his father is a Japanese citizen he is reluctant to relinquish or abandon his Japanese citizenship.

As you are an influential body you may be able to guide us through a course of action towards a successful end.

W.W. Amaratunga  - Kelaniya

Answer: We find it very difficult to read your hand writing, also your questions are long and multiple. as regards your grandson, for him to seek employment in Sri Lanka, he should have Sri Lankan citizenship.

He can apply for (Dual) Sri Lankan citizenship but the moment the Japanese authorities come to know or on sighting his Sri Lankan passport they will cancel his Japanese citizenship. Countries like Japan, Norway, Australia, Germany and a few others do not grant dual citizenship to Sri Lankans.

Your grandson has to choose between Sri Lanka and Japan. There is no other way out to the best of our knowledge.


Approval of Upstair building by Urban Council

Question: I have my own house at the said premise 4.5 perches given to me by my father at the time of marriage.

The Boralesgamuwa Urban Council approved the plan to build only the 1st floor of the house. But one of my neighbours secretly went to the UDA and made a verbal objection.

An officer it seems from the UDA visited the house and advised not to build the upper floor. The next door neighbour has put a rain water collecting drain with the parameter of my boundary. during rainy days all rain water passes through my concrete slab.

Please advise me your ruling in your esteemed column.

Fathima Jezuliya, Boralesgamuwa

Answer: Did you request for the identity (name) of the officer who is supposed to have been from the UDA. If not how do you know that he was from the UDA. There could be instances where approval for a building is granted by the Urban Council but the UDA may not approve or object.

You should re-check with the Urban council whether there is any subsequent objection by the UDA to the approval granted by them. Also you can write to the Director General of the UDA at 7th floor, Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla giving all the particulars of your land and building along with a copy of the Urban Council approval stating that an officer (giving the identity of the officer if known) or a so-called officer visiting you and giving verbal advice. In this letter you should request the Director General to confirm the approved granted by the Urban Council and that the UDA has no objection. All this could be due mischief caused by your neighbour.


Issue of NIC-Receipt/No: NC483988 of 15/11/06

Question: I am sending a photocopy of the receipt issued by the Grama Sevaka for Kotahena Batahira Div. Please be in formed that I have been going from pillar to post and on my last visit to Colombo Kachcheri, Dam Street, Colombo a lady clerk at the desk informed me that even the application related to my NIC has not reached them how come???

I would like to perform an "UMRA" a Muslim Ritual, expense paid by some philanthropist during Hajj. This is my desire.

Time and again the required letters have been submitted to Grama Sevaka-copies available; "Come tomorrow" and/or any date uttered. When I go....." did I ask to come" is the question.

I am old and deaf, Please help me to obtain my NIC at an early date and oblige.

Thanking you in anticipation, do reply.

Kulsan Abdulla - Kolonnawa

Answer: From what we understand from the facts stated by you, the grama sevaka (Niladari) has not forwarded your application to the Divisional Secretary. This has been confirmed to you by the lady at the Colombo Kachcheri. Very likely the Grama Niladhari may have misplaced your application. Now you may have to make a fresh application. As you require the signatures of the Grama Niladhari and the Divisional Secretary, we suggest that you meet the Divisional Secretary or one of the officers in charge at the Colombo Kachcheri and explain the entire situation to them.

Only the Divisional Secretary or one of his officers can instruct the Grama Niladari to forward you application to assist you to process a fresh application. Although you have written to the Commissioner of Registration of Persons at Jawatta Road, he cannot help you without your application reaching him. It is only the Divisional Secretary at the Colombo Kachcheri who can help you.


Letter of Appointment

Question: I am a student following a HR course in a Government Institute. We are aware that it is an obligation on the part of the employer to provide a "letter of Appointment to the Employees".

However, what are the consequences the employer has, if a letter of appointment is not provided to the employee?.

And what are the disadvantages the employee has, for not having such a letter of appointment. Please reply through questions and answers column in the Daily News.

Mahes, Dematagoda

Answer: A letter of appointment is equivalent to a contract and it is a legal document binding an employer and the employee. It is the only document to prove employment and it usually spells out the nature of employment, date of commencement and the remuneration. Yes it is an obligation on the part of the employer to issue a letter of employment. Only an errant employer will not issue a letter of appointment and the employee is at risk regarding his continuation of employment, amount of remuneration, contribution to EPF, ETF, etc.

After a while in employment if the employee has proof of continuous employment, could report to the labour office in the area of his work place and demand for a letter of employment. The employer is not only obliged but also legally bound to issue a letter of employment. If not the employee is the loser and at risk. As you are a student in HR this should be covered in your studies.


Power of Attorney

Question: I am the Attorney for my brother-in-law who resides aborad. He has given me a general Power of Attorney duly attested by a lawyer. Since he may not be able to return to Sri Lanka in the foreseeable future, he has requested me as his Attorney to withdraw his EPF benefit (he is now over 60 years) and give it to his wife and children.

On inquiry from the Labour Department EPF Division, I was told that I cannot use my "Power of Attorney but that he must necessarily come down and claim it personally.

Is this position correct? If so what use is a power of Attorney which entitles me to attend to all his financial dealings as well? Please let me know the correct position.

MCM, Nawala

Answer: Have you got this Power of Attorney registered with the land registry as it has to be registered in order to be recognized. We made inquires with the EPF Office and they confirm that they will accept a Power of Attorney and you also being a relative of the applicant makes it even easier. It is preferable if your brother-in-law the applicant gives you a letter addressed to the EPF department to release his EPF to you (with your name and NIC number) as the holder of the Power of Attorney. All necessary documents such as the "B" card, completed "K" form, photograph, copy of NIC of the applicant etc should be available.

If you have all the necessary documents and if they refuse to accept at the counter, you should meet one of the Assistant Commissioners and speak to them. The telephone numbers to contact one of the Asst. Commissioners are 2368911, 2368918.


Telephone No. and Address of JP associations

Question: I have been trying to obtain the above information without success. (Not in Telephone directories), Hate to inform telephone service did not know.

Could you pleace let me know the telephone nos. and address of.

1. JPs' Association

2. All Island JPs' Association

K.G.E.P.W. Dharmawardena, JP-Maharagama

Answer: We also had difficulty in finding the answer to your question as most JPs whom we contacted are not members of this Association. Further you have not given the proper title of the Association. However, we managed to find the information requested by you.

It is known as the "Justice of the Peace and Human Rights Organisation". The address is "Rex Dias Mawatha, Wennappuwa. Tel. No. 031-2245352.

The Administrative Director is Deshabandu D.S. Jayantha Kalubowila Tel. 0773156790.

We also understand that this Association is only for those JPs who have passed the GCE O/Level.


Claiming EPF, ETF and Gratuity

Question: I was 58 years old when I joined company "X". I was given job on contract basis, with no EPF/ETF benefits. After 14 years I was moved to company "Y". Both X & Y belong to the same party. At company "Y" too I was engaged on yearly renewable contract and this time with EPF/ETF benefits.

In this connection, I shall be very thankful to receive your valuable advice on the following:

1. Whether once I leave or my services are terminated at a future date, I have the Legal right to claim EPF/ETF and granting for 14 years service at company "X".

2. Whether I have 100% chance of winning a claim

3. Is there a time limit before which a claim can be filed?

4. Can the company evade payment by any subterfuge!

Concerned Employee, Colombo

Answer: Yes, you are entitled to EPF/ETF and Gratuity for your 14 years service at Company X.

We cannot specifically state that you will have 100% chance of winning the claim but we can say that your chances are greater. As far as we know there is no time limit for you to file a claim through the Labour Department but your chances are greater the sooner you make a claim. What if Company X is no longer in existence. We cannot say whether the Company can evade payment by any subterfuge but what makes you think so. As far as we are concerned we can only tell you that you are entitled to EPF, ETF and Gratuity for your 14 years service. Since you are still employed by the same party you don't want to have a claim now but if you delay there can be changes even with the Labour regulations. As it is, you can make your claim on Company X when you cease to work with Company Y.


Loss of EPF "B" Card

Question: I worked at Sri Lanka Sugar Corporation, Kantalai and Haldumulla from 1976 to 1981, resigned and joined the Private Firm where they had their own Provident Fund. Now I want to get a refund of my Provident Fund, but the EPF 'B' Card, got lost and I applied to Labour Department, Colombo 5 for a duplicate 'B' card through Jaffna Labour Office in December 2008. My "B" Card No. is A11140/09767 but still I have not received a reply.

Could you please help me to get this problem solved?

S.P. Rasanayagam, Uduvil, Jaffna

Answer: We are sorry for the delay in replying as it is very difficult to contact the EPF Department. However, we managed to contact them and they don't seem to have received your application for a duplicate "B" Card as per Ref. 11140A/09767.

They suggest that you get an "ABH Form" filled by the "Sri Lanka Sugar Corporation if they are still in operation. With that form you can complete the "K" Form and apply for the refund. In case Sri Lanka Sugar Corporation is not in existence any more you can apply for the refund even without the "B" Card.

You will have to state your "B" Card reference as 11140A/09767 whilst completing the "K" Form and complying with all other requirements such as photo copy of your NIC, Thumb impression, photograph etc along with copies of your last received EPF Statement and salary slip. You may apply through the Labour Office in Jaffna. Do not wait for your duplicate "B" Card as your application of December 2008 cannot be traced by the EPF Department.

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Implementation of Official Languages

Question: My wife and I made applications for our passports through Divisional Secretariat, Town and Gravets, Trincomalee recently.

When we submitted our applications the relevant subject officer instructed us to produce the translations for our marriage and birth certificates, which are in the Tamil language.

I think Tamil is also an official language in Sri Lanka. Please try to solve this problem for the benefit of future applicants.

K. Koneswaran JP - Trincomalee

Answer: We checked with the Immigration and Emigration Department and they accept documents such as Birth and Marriage Certificates in Tamil. Therefore it is surprising that the subject officer at the Trincomalee Divisional Secretariat had refused to accept your certificate in Tamil. You should have taken up the matter with the Divisional Secretary as they have to accept certificates in Tamil.

Though Tamil is an official language, there are an insufficient number of persons in government departments who can read or speak Tamil. Most of the Head offices in Colombo have persons who can read Tamil. This is why the government is now making arrangements to train most of the government officers to learn both official languages Sinhala and Tamil. Therefore the implementation is a temporary practical problem.

This may take another year or two, until then we have to bear with some such inconvenience and support the government in implementing the official langauge policy.

From July 1st 2007 the second official language is made compulsory for the new entrants to the public service and these officers are required to acquire this competency within five years of joining the service. The OPA has taken several initiatives by meeting the Minister concerned.

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