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Wednesday 29th June 2022    
Over 50,000 Foreign Workers in Middle East, Still Await Repatriation! | Lankaviews | Views of the TruthLankaviews | Views of the Truth

Over 50,000 Foreign Workers in Middle East, Still Await Repatriation!



Despite 56,000 registered for repatriation, Lankan authorities have not initiated a proper programme to bring them back, sources linked to Foreign Employment Bureau reveals.

It was in April, during the first wave of the pandemic, when the middle east workers stranded in different Arabic countries demanded their safe return to homeland as the infection was rapidly spreading there. Many of them signed petitions to be sent to the president Gotabhaya, pleading mediation to provide charter flights for them to fly back just as children of VIPs stranded in Wuhan, China did. But the government never initiate a proper plan to bring the middle east workers whom serve there as serfs and annually bring home more than 7.5 Bn. US dollars.

Although the Foreign Ministry after an 8 month delay, made an announcement that Lankans who are using commercial flights that are not repatriation flights did not have to obtain prior approval from the Foreign Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), that condition has since been revised.

Kandeepan Balasubramaniam, Director General of Covid-19 Action -East Asia of the Foreign Ministry has told the media that at least 56,000 migrant workers have been registered to be repatriated by November. Over the past few weeks, 300-400 Lankans have been repatriated on a daily basis. However, with the new variant of the Covid19 detected, the arrangements have been cancelled until further notice.

Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) says that the only government authority established for serving the foreign workers is unable to say the exact number of Lankans who are awaiting repatriation. They have a condition declared  “Only if the migrant worker’s employment contract was coming to an end, they would apply to be repatriated.”

But those who sent pleas to the president have made it clear that either they are expelled from work violating the agreements or escaped from residents where they were treated like animals. SLFEB has never commented on about the fate of workers those who live in streets, friends lodgings and others who are taken to custody by police for violating law and order.