Foreign employment agency to monitor worker contracts

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) said yesterday that all job contracts of Lankan workers seeking overseas employment through them had been signed before one of their representatives.

General Manager SLFEB, H. Batagoda said that any part of the contract which was not clear to the migrant worker was explained to him/her.

Batagoda said that the employees were fully briefed on the job and its details. The Agent sending employees also pay the prospective employee as much as forty thousand rupees provided by the foreign


The sub agent too was given an amount for bringing the prospective migrant worker.

This way of earning money even before being employed had almost reached the status of a racket. They stayed for three months with sponsoring employer and run away complaining that they were not aware of the type of job they were given, that they were not receiving the salary they were promised or that they were not being paid, he said.

According to the GM, the main aim of some of those employees was to return to Sri Lanka as soon as possible. There were occasions when the Bureau queried through the Sri Lankan missions if they were willing to accept a second job since they were not being paid the promised amount. However these employees insist on returning.

Batagoda said that there were migrant workers who left for Gulf countries repeatedly just to receive the large amount of money paid to them through the local agent. He said that in most of the cases the scheme was carried out in collaboration with the sub-agent who finds the people for job agencies.

He said a majority of the runaway maids who seek refuge at the mission are women who have been to Kuwait several times.

However Batagoda said that the SLFEB could not reveal some of the measures that were being taken to stop this from happening.

The Ambassador to Kuwait, C. A. H. M. Wijeratne told Arab News on Sunday that Lankan workers were brought to Saudi from Kuwait illegally as recruiting agents failed to disclose the nature of work to employees they posted overseas. He said that sponsors were sent Sri Lanka maidservant who were not able to work for more than three months in the country.

"They come here and work for three months and then come to the embassy claiming they have some family problems so they can go home," the envoy said, indicating such maids have frequented Kuwait more than three times.

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