(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –Law will be strictly enforced against people and organizations that traffic migrant workers under the guise of providing tourist visas, Labor and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.
The Minister said they have decided to start a special investigation process combining the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau, Immigration and Emigration Department, Airport and Airport Service Company and Criminal Investigation Department to prevent the smuggling of workers by obtaining tourist visas and sending them for foreign employment.
This decision has been taken at a special discussion held with officials of the airport, immigration emigration controller and Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau under the chairmanship of Minister Nanayakkara.
“We have decided to take this step with immediate effect based on the information we received regarding the workers who have obtained tourist visas and are seeking employment abroad,” the Minister said.
The minister said that organizations and individuals who are not registered in the Foreign Employment Bureau are operating this mafia, and the youth community of Sri Lanka is requested not to go abroad without a proper employment contract with a foreign company or through any unregistered party or on a tourist visa in the hope of employment.
It is reported on a daily basis that young men and women who go abroad on tourist visas in search of work are more often subjected to serious persecution in those countries, and it is a serious threat to their lives as well as to the reputation of the country, Minister Nanayakkara said reiterating that workers should not go abroad on tourist visa.
“All this is happening as part of human trafficking. Therefore, we are implementing a joint program to prevent people from going abroad for work through tourist visas and to avoid being deceived by many fraudsters.”
“We are working to bring the smugglers involved in sending workers for work by obtaining tourist visas to justice and we are also working to give reward money to the officials who contribute to it,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, a special entrance and a special counter in the Immigration Department will be introduced to give higher respect and more convenience to workers going abroad through the airport. From the first of September, this counter will be opened for workers who are going abroad and coming to Sri Lanka from foreign countries.
The Ministry is also planning to open a special counter in the Immigration Department from next Monday for those who wish to obtain a passport with the expectation of going abroad for work.