Select Committee of Parliament to look into and report to Parliament its recommendations to ensure gender equity and equality with special emphasis on looking into gender-based discriminations and violations of women’s rights in Sri Lanka instructed the respective authorities to implement a ”Safe Migration Promotion Unit” as a three-month pilot program to prevent illegal migration.
Instruction pertaining to the aforesaid was given at the Select Committee meeting held under the Chairmanship of Hon. (Dr.) (Ms.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle.
The meeting was called for to review the actions taken pertaining to the November 2022 human trafficking incident reported in Oman. Many officials representing the Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Justice were present at this Committee meeting held.
Accordingly, the Committee pointed out that the establishment of this unit can prevent the fraudulent activities that are done by going on a tourist visa and then obtaining a work visa, and instructed to implement this pilot project and give a report within three months. It was also discussed that this unit could be implemented through a special task force consisting of the Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense.
The Committee also requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take steps to reinstate the previously suspended No Objection Certificate system to protect innocent workers from fake agents who take them on tourist visas and offer jobs in Oman. The officials of the ministry pointed out that they have already discussed this with the Omani government and steps are being taken to expedite it.
The Select Committee of Parliament also instructed the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Employment to look into the possibility of implementing the affidavit system in Sri Lanka, like which is in place like in the Philippines.
The officials pointed out that the amendments to the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau Act are expected to be adopted promptly and that the regulation of sub-agents and intermediaries is expected to be done accordingly. Also, the Select Committee instructed the Foreign Employment Bureau to raise awareness at the divisional secretariat level regarding fraudulent activities carried out by fake foreign employment agencies when leaving for foreign employment.
Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition, State Minister Hon. (Dr.) (Ms.) Seetha Arambepola, Members of Parliament Hon. (Ms.) Rohini Kumari Wijerathna, Hon. (Ms.) Manjula Dissanayake were present at the Committee meeting held.