Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sri Lankans in Dubai seek visa cancellation

Thousands of laid off construction workers including some Sri Lankans have applied for visa cancellations in Dubai.

"Thousands of applications for visa cancellations are already being processed by the ministry," said a UAE Ministry of Labour official who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Hemandha Kahawalage, labour welfare officer at the Sri Lankan embassy said, "As of now, we are conducting a survey about the matter and we don't have the exact figures but around 200 Sri Lankan workers have approached the missions here for different cases within a month, which include cases of termination and of those who intend to go back to Sri Lanka. We are also in close contact with our government regarding the current situation here."

The Indian Consul General, Venu Rajamony said, "We are monitoring the situation now and we don't have any figure and if needed, we will come up with a plan. We are also keeping the Indian government informed about the developments taking place in the labour sector here."

Bangladeshi ambassador to the UAE, Nazmul Quaunine said, "We have been receiving a number of Bangladeshi expatriates particularly at our consulate in Dubai who were seeking documentation for them so that they can return to their country."

The Bangladeshi ambassador said this may be due to various reasons such as termination and the skyrocketing cost of living in the UAE.

"Since such a situation started in the UAE, we have witnessed a slowdown of workers' arrivals from Bangladesh to the UAE. Of late, we do not have exact figures of how many Bangladeshies are sacked. Most of them are turning up at the consulate in Dubai, only a few came to the embassy," Quaunine stated.

Honourary president of the Kerala Social Centre, K.B. Murali said, "We know of only a few people who were asked by their company to go back home for a long holiday as the company halted some projects. The workers were told that they would be approached when needed. Mostly people were not terminated from their jobs but sent back for holidays. The majority of cases were reported in Dubai while the Abu Dhabi job market is stable.

(Khaleej Times)

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