Sri Lankan missions work 24/7 to help workers

Sri Lankan missions work 24/7 to help workers
Updated 18 May 2013

Sri Lankan missions work 24/7 to help workers

Sri Lankan missions work 24/7 to help workers

The Sri Lankan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah are currently working 24 hours a day, including weekends, to sort out the paperwork of over 10,000 workers by July 3, the end of the three-month grace period provided for expatriate workers to rectify their work status.
The workers have applied to either transfer to new sponsors or get emergency travel documents to go home.
Labor Counselor of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh Anura Muthumala told Arab News yesterday that the missions are working 24-hour shifts and weekends, in cooperation with the Saudi authorities, to help facilitate the paperwork of distressed workers.
He said the two missions have issued emergency certificates for more than 4,000 workers, of whom 50 percent are female domestic workers.
To help expatriate workers in remote places, he said he had provided consular services in Dammam yesterday. Similar services would be provided in Hail, Al-Qassim and Saqaka in the coming days.
Consul at the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah M.D.M. Zarook said it was a huge task to help some 7,000 workers. “So far, we have processed 2,000 emergency certificates for workers, of whom 50 percent are housemaids.”
The consulate would issue passports to some 1,500 workers who want to transfer to new sponsors, he said.
The consul said only a few of the applicants are Haj overstayers. He said he had also arranged consular services in Taif, Madinah, Yanbu, Khamis Mushayt, Abha, Jazan and Tabuk.
Regarding sponsorship transfers, Zarook said companies such as Almarai, Shawaya House, Hyundai and leading maintenance firms in the Western Province are walking into the mission to hire Sri Lankan workers. He said about 1,500 workers would get jobs by transferring to new sponsors.
He said Sir Lankan workers have developed a reputation in the Kingdom for being hardworking, flexible and loyal to their employers.
There are about 550,000 Lankan workers in the Kingdom, which is the island nation's largest expatriate community in the Middle East. The majority of Lankan workers are housemaids.