Monday, September 28, 2009

One Thousand Sri Lankans to be deported from Kuwait

The Kuwait Ministry Of Interior is preparing to deport 1,000 Sri Lankans who are among 17,000 illegal expatriates belonging to 22 nationalities by the end of the year. It said the ministry has applied to the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) to purchase air tickets for the deportees as requested by the deportation department.
According to the memo made by the ministry's correctional facilities directorate, the tickets requested for deportees included 4,000 to Bangladesh, 3,500 to India, 1,000 to the Philippines, 1,000 to Indonesia, 1,000 to Sri Lanka, 1,200 to Egypt, 1,050 to Pakistan, 50 to Thailand, 50 to Malaysia, 500 to Iran, 500 to China, 100 to Yemen, 50 to Lebanon, 50 to Jordan, 750 to Syria, 500 to Nepal, 50 to South Korea, 50 to Somalia, 500 to Ethiopia, 1,000 to Afghanistan, 50 to Sudan and 50 to Turkey.
Official sources at the Ministry of Interior noted that this would be the largest deportation process in any year since the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. He added that the previous record was in 2006 when 16,000 were deported from Kuwait . The sources also explained that once the tender was ready, regular flights would carry those arrested for residency law violations or other legal claims to the aforementioned destinations.
In addition, the ministry has requested special conditions to be observed in the tender, such as excluding fare differences for rebooking during different seasons, the availability of the carrier's representative or liaison officer at the deportation centre on a 24/7 basis and giving top priority to Kuwait Airways. ( Kuwait Times)

Copyright © Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.

Sri Lankan gang in Doha gets 3-year jail term

Five Sri Lankans were sentenced to three-years imprisonment each and subsequent deportation following their conviction of stealing a safe - containing QR100,000 and other documents - from the premises of a company they worked in Doha.
According to the charge sheet, the crime took place soon before midnight of February 27 last year.
A Doha court of first instance heard that the prime suspect did not lock the door of the manager’s office on purpose "to ease the operation for his accomplices," and pocketed QR10,000 as a reward.
The four Sri Lankans transported the safe using a pick-up vehicle, driven by one of them and broke it open in the desert, the court learnt.
Confessing to the interrogators about the robbery details, the prime suspect said that he stayed in the premises until the next morning and that he was the one who informed the company’s officials about the "missing safe."
According to the court papers, the five suspects remitted the money, each separately, to their country the very next morning.
The ruling is still open for an appeal in a higher court.
(Gulf Times)

Copyright©Upali Newspapers Limited.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SLBFE Bill passed

Uditha KUMARASINGHE and Irangika RANGE

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday.
The UNP was against taking up the Bill for debate stating that the 54th clause of the Bill was subjudice. However Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara provided an opportunity for the Bill to be debated after refusing to accommodate the arguments and legal points raised by the UNP. The amendments proposed by the Opposition were rejected by the Government.
When Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Keheliya Rambukwella presented the Bill for debate, Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera inquired from the Speaker whether the Bill could be debated in Parliament as it had been challenged before the Court of Appeal.
The Speaker said the Bill can be debated in Parliament without passing any opinion that would affect the matter before Court.
The UNP provided the relevant Court case number and its details to the Speaker while Minister Rambukwella gave a letter to the Speaker which was sent to him by the Attorney General regarding this Bill.
The Minister said the Attorney General has mentioned that no clause of the Bill was not in concurrence with the clauses of the Constitution.
Finally, the Speaker accepted the communique sent by the Attorney General and asked the Minister to commence the debate.

Lankan labourer to be deported

A labourer accused of stealing BD 180 from his roommate claimed he sent the cash to his needy family. The Sri Lankan was convicted of theft and embezzlement by the High Criminal Court, which sentenced him yesterday to three years in jail.
The Judges ordered his immediate deportation after he completes his sentence.The defendant reportedly stole his roommate’s ATM card, which was lying on his bed, hid it in his clothes and snuck out of the accommodation they shared in Muharraq, in Bahrain.He withdrew cash using the pin number, which was written on the back of the card’s cover and headed towards a local bank, where he sent the cash to his family in Sri Lanka, in February.

(Gulf Daily News)

Lankan fishermen should refrain from trespassing into int’l waters: Neomal

By: Shalika Ranaweera
There are 50 Sri Lankan fishermen and nine boats in custody of the Andaman Island authorities while 51 fishermen and 10 boats are also in custody in other states in India, said Neomal Perera Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources yesterday.

Speaking to Daily Mirror the Deputy Minister said that it was hard to get fishermen held by authorities in the union territory of Andaman released as it is governed directly by the Central Government. “For others we do not have a problem,” he said.

There are five fishermen in the custody of Myanmar authorities and the Ministry has made all necessary arrangements to get them released, he said. Meanwhile there are 5 boats and 21 Indian fishermen in our custody as they have trespassed Sri Lankan waters, the Deputy Minister added.

“Our Ministry had spent more than 11 lakhs in the past year to obtain the release of fishermen who were in the custody of authorities in various countries, for trespassing into those countries,” the deputy minister said. As the government has given the duty free concessions for satellite communication equipment to be purchased, fishermen should be able to monitor their course and should refrain from entering the waters of other countries illegally, he warned.

However, the number of fishermen getting caught for illegally entering the waters’ of other countries has diminished this year when compared to the past,” he further said.

Rameswaram fishermen migrate over issues with Lanka

RAMANATHAPURAM: Fishermen from Rameswaram have started migrating to other areas in Karnataka and Kerala due to the continuing attacks by the Sri Lankan navy.
They said they were unable to earn an income because of the attacks.

Since they could not set out to sea to fish and were apprehensive of their safety, one group of fishermen went to Mangalore and another to Kerala recently.

Fishermen here have been urging the government to restore the right to fish in the sea, without being attacked, around the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

But no action has been taken in this regard.

The fishermen say that they have been left with no option but to migrate to other States to earn their living.

Owing to loss of their income, many fishermen took their children out of matriculation schools and admitted them in government schools.

Only a few boats have set out from Rameswaram during the past few days.

Teniston of Rameswaram said that some fishermen had sold their houses to maintain their families. (Express Buzz)

Lankan in Aussie court for human smuggling

Two Indonesians and a Sri Lankan have been charged with human smuggling in connection with two of this year's arrivals of asylum seeker boats. Australian Federal Police said the two Indonesian men were alleged to be member of a crew of a vessel that arrived in Australia on August 29 as part of an attempt to smuggle 52 passengers into Australia.
The Sri Lankan was transferred from Christmas Island to Perth on Wednesday in connection with a vessel that arrived in Australia on April 22 as part of an attempt to smuggle 32 passengers into Australia. He is alleged to have organized the human smuggling operation.

All three men have been charged with one count of facilitating the bringing of five or more non-citizens into Australia - a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment or a $220,000 fine.

They were to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court later on Thursday, the AFP said. (The Age)

Lankan sentenced by Dutch court for human smuggling

Four men, including a Sri Lankan, who were involved in a human smuggling operation that ended in disaster off Tortola’s coast in January, were given prison sentences ranging from six to thirty months, on Monday by a Dutch court. Another Sri Lankan was acquitted.
The four convicts were involved in a shipment of Haitians and Sri Lankans from Simpson Bay to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The boat Ajada, which was used in the voyage, capsized after hitting a reef off the British Virgin Islands on January 20. A passing fishing boat rescued 13 migrants, while five men, two women and three children are still missing.
Judge Monique Keppels, who had presided over the August 25 and 31 court hearings, sentenced main suspect Sribaskaran Sivanantham (45) to three years. She stated in her written verdict that she considered it proven the Sri Lankan had arranged transport of seven compatriots from Sri Lanka to St. Thomas via St. Maarten.
Sivanantham had told Court that when he was in St. Maarten he was there “to help people.” He said his price was around US $32,000 per person. From this fact, the court derived that he had not acted only for humanitarian reasons, but had tried to make a profit. He was sentenced to three years, six months of which were suspended, with two years’ probation. Prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks had asked for seven years.
Sri Lankan Gunanayagam Thurainayagam (35) was acquitted because the judge did not consider it proven that he also had acted to make a profit. The court considered it proven that he had only paid Canadian $40,000 to have his brother transported from Sri Lanka to Canada. The Prosecutor had asked for 30 months.
Terrence Williams (46) of St. Kitts and Nevis was sentenced to 34 months, six of which were suspended, with two years’ probation, for having repaired the boat that was used in the operation. The court also found it proven that he had received some US $10,000 from a co-suspect for the transport of five Lankans. Williams’ sentence was considerably lower than Ridderbek’s demand of 54 months, also because he received a two-month reduction of his sentence for having spent too long in police detention.
Olnard Jaquet (53), for whom the prosecutor had requested 24 months, received 13 months, five of which were suspended, with two years’ probation. The judge found it proven that he had been the liaison with the passengers, who received temporary shelter in his house. He had denied his involvement, but several survivors of the ill-fated voyage had told police that they had paid US $1,500 for their passage to St. Thomas. These payments had taken place in Jaquet’s house in Cole Bay. (The Daily Herald)

Fifty Indian fishermen killed in 2 weeks: A blatant lie, says Lanka

by Shamindra Ferdinando
Government sources said that a section of the Indian press was making a fresh attempt to discredit the Sri Lanka Navy at the behest of politicians sympathetic to the LTTE.
Sources said that this could be part of a campaign against Sri Lanka, now being targeted by several countries and a section of the press over alleged war crimes, human rights violations and suppression of media freedom.
An authoritative official told The Island yesterday that there was absolutely no truth in Indian press reports on Tuesday (September 22) that the SLN had killed at least 50 Indian fishermen in the last fortnight for crossing over into Sri Lankan waters. "This is nothing but a blatant lie," he said.
Referring to international criticism of the government, on the basis of the so-called Channel 4 execution video, the official expressed concern that some political parties in India had condemned the SLN even without verifying facts.
Responding to our queries, he said that the SLN continued with surveillance operations on the northern waters though the LTTE had been militarily destroyed. According to him, at the moment their surveillance operations were primarily directed at thwarting any attempt by LTTE cadres to flee the country and take refuge in South India. He revealed that the SLN had recently intercepted a boat carrying an LTTE operative to South India. According to him, the suspect had helped an LTTE suicide cadre to reach Colombo some time ago.
Sources said that the SLN would not allow poaching in Sri Lankan waters adding that the Indian media campaign could be also aimed at forcing the Sri Lanka Navy to ease surveillance operations. Sources emphasised the importance of blocking unauthorised movements across international maritime boundary.
Our Special Correspondent in India S. Venket Narayan on Tuesday reported that a delegation of DMK and Congress MPs had met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to protest against what they called ‘frequent attacks’ on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the SLN. They also demanded that action be taken to regain Kachchathivi island and the adjacent seas.
The SLN said that similar charges had been levelled against them at the height of the war against the LTTE. An attempt to pin the blame for the massacre of a group of Indian fishermen off Kanyakumari as well as the seizure of fishing trawler Sri Krishna, on the Sri Lanka Navy had failed, sources said. The capture of a group of LTTE cadres by Indians and sinking of Sri Krishna by the Maldivian Coast Guard had exposed the lie, sources said.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lankans held with fake visas

Alleged connivance between the Immigration authorities at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad and some agents resulted in five Sri Lankan nationals, travelling on fake passports and visas, being cleared at the Immigration counter on Tuesday.

Surprisingly, they were also issued with boarding passes. Four Sri Lankans and one native of Tamil Nadu were later caught by the staff of Emirates Airlines and off-loaded from the flight.

Two other members of the same group were subsequently caught at the immigration counter. According to sources, all the seven members, which includes six Sri Lankan nationals and one native of Tamil Nadu, including a woman and their 'carrier' went to the airport around midnight.

With fake passports and bogus visas, they intended to board the Emirates flight to France which departs at 4.30 a.m.

While five of them - Sylvester Samuel Raj (carrier), Panner Selvan Kumar, Raja Dorai Siva, Dasiel Solomon and Srinivasan Prakash - managed to get clearance at the Immigration counter and were proceeding for the security check, some staff of the Emirates airlines noticed some suspicious behaviour. Among them Sylvester Samuel Raj hails from Tamil Nadu and he was the carrier of the group.

They immediately alerted the security personnel who found that the documents with them were fake. As the world spread about them, two members of the same group including a woman were caught at the immigration counter. Officials said they are Venkateshan Rameshand Ramesh Jaya Chitra.

"Without connivance of the immigration staff, the five Sri Lankan nationals getting clearance at the immigration counter is impossible.

We have ordered an internal enquiry," a police official said.

A team of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is grilling all the seven persons after which they were handed over to the Shamshabad police for further action. The sleuths are also questioning one Balaji, who is involved in the ground handling operations at RGIA issued boarding passes to them.

Sources said that this year alone, several Sri Lankan nationals were caught at the airport, who were mostly travelling to France or Paris.

"During their interrogation, many of them told us that they were finding it difficult to travel from the Chennai Airport because of the strict checks all through," sources said.

Meanwhile, the Shamshabad police picked up two agents Wajid and Sameer, who are involved in sending many Sri Lankan nationals to European countries en route Hyderabad. Cyberabad DCP (Immigration) B.V. Ramana Kumar said all Indian passports were obtained from Tiruchunapalli.

"Illegal travel by Sri Lankan nationals can be checked if Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes up the cases. The Cyberabad police is overburdened and our investigation might not be as effective," said an official. Express News Service

Malaysia detains would be Lankan illegal immigrants

Johor Baharu-The Malaysian Immigration Department Tuesday detained 116 Indian and Sri Lankan citizens at a luxury condominium in Jalan Abdul Samad here who were believed to be using the place as a transit point before they headed off to Indonesia and then on to Australia.
Johor immigration deputy assistant director Muhammad Ali Abdullah said the persons aged between seven months and 50 years were detained at about 1 p.m. after the Immigration Department received information from the police. "More than 20 rooms were occupied by the foreigners, believed to be rented by smuggling agents. It is believed that three of the agents were also living at the place but they escaped during the raid," he told reporters here.

Muhammad Ali said investigation revealed that some of the foreigners came with their families via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport since a month ago. He said it was found that some had passports that had expired and some had refugee status documents from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Muhammad Ali said they would be investigated under Section 6(1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963 for not having valid travelling documents and under Section 15(1)(c) of the same Act for overstaying. He said they were all sent to the Pekan Nenas detention centre in Pontian. (Bernama)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dozens of maids arrested in immigration raids

Hassan Hassan
• Last Updated: August 19. 2009 6:06PM UAE / August 19. 2009 2:06PM GMT
ABU DHABI // A total of 42 people were arrested in raids in the capital targeting suspected illegal immigrants.

Acting on a tip-off that there were a number of illegal immigrants in “suspicious” flats, police carried out raids on 13 properties in different parts of the city in a six-hour operation that began last night and ended this morning.

Of those arrested, 38 were maids of African or Asian origin and four were from African or Arab countries, accused of employing or housing them.

Maj Gen Nasser al Minhali, the acting director of the Naturalisation and Residency Department, said: “A number of policewomen took part in the raids.”

Four people have been referred to the public prosecution office and are expected to appear in court.

Maj Gen al Minhali said regular inspections into suspected immigration violations would continue.

“Anyone who violates the law, who employs or help - in whatever way - someone who violates the law or infiltrates the country will be punished,” he added.

He also called on landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants “otherwise they would face legal consequences, including big financial fines”.

Maj Gen al Minhali said inspections were being stepped up as housing or employing illegal immigrants led to financial, social and security problems.

He said co-operation among different official departments as well as with the public is essential to fight this “phenomenon”.

He urged the public to increase their co-operation with police and security agencies to inform them of any violators or infiltrators to help in their crime - fighting efforts.

The penalty for hiring or housing an illegal immigrant is a fine of Dh100,000 and two months in prison. A person who hires a foreigner whom he did not sponsor faces a fine of Dh50,000.

Eight starve to death on vessel carrying illegal immigrants to UAE

Anealla Safdar

Last Updated: August 05. 2009 12:14AM UAE / August 4. 2009 8:14PM GMT Seven Pakistani men are believed to have starved to death after the boat that was attempting to smuggle them into Dubai broke down in the Arabian Gulf.

The vessel, which began its journey in Iran, had been stranded at sea for 10 days, according to the four survivors. Its Iranian captain also died; all eight bodies were disposed of in the water.

Khurshid Junejo, the Pakistani ambassador to the UAE, said the deaths were proof that further efforts should be taken to stop illegal immigration at the source.

One of the four survivors, identified as Rehmatullah, told the GEO news channel in Pakistan that the men left home last month after paying an agent in their home country to help them travel to Dubai.

Fishermen rescued the survivors, who returned to the Punjab province in Pakistan, where they told authorities of their experience.

“The four survivors told us that eight of the 12 died because of starvation and their bodies were thrown out to sea,” Hassan Iqbal, the top local administration official, told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

“This is a case of human trafficking,” he added.

Mr Junejo said the embassy had evidence of agents illegally making vast sums of money in Pakistan by charging immigrants about 10,000 Pakistani rupees (Dh450) each, promising them jobs in the Gulf region.He said the practice could be prevented only by stricter enforcement in Pakistan. “When I was in Pakistan, I spoke with the government and told them that this must be discouraged,” he said. “It is illegal of course, but we must stop it. It can be controlled through the police and through the government.”

Immigration raids yield 16 arrests

Haneen Dajani
• Last Updated: August 16. 2009 10:57PM UAE / August 16. 2009 6:57PM GMT
ABU DHABI // Sixteen people were arrested in raids on construction sites in Madinat Zayed this month and charged with being in the country illegally.

Police said they were still looking for three individuals who they believe brought the 16 people into the country and offered them jobs and accommodation. They declined to reveal any information about the suspects.

Col Hilal al Mazrouei, head of violators and foreigners section of the Directorate of Naturalisation and Residency, said four of the 16 who were arrested had infiltrated the country on foot, while the rest had committed various visa violations.

The “surprise inspection” turned up about 100 workers who did not have their work documents with them, but further investigation revealed that only 16 were present illegally, Col al Mazrouei said.

He called on workers to have their labour cards with them at all times and to ensure that their work contracts were accessible for inspection.

As a part of the Government’s general crime-fighting efforts, regular inspections would continue with the aim of catching anyone violating visa and residency laws, he said.

The penalty for hiring or housing an illegal immigrant is a fine of Dh100,000 (US$27,000) and two months in prison.

A person who hires a foreigner whom he did not sponsor faces a fine of Dh50,000.

Ajman ruler releases dozens of prisoners

Last Updated: August 26. 2009 5:04PM UAE / August 26. 2009 1:04PM GMT Dozens of prisoners are to be freed after Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, Ruler of Ajman, pardoned the inmates to mark the start of Ramadan.

Fifty eight prisoners of different nationalities will be released for showing good conduct while serving their jail terms, according to the state news agency WAM.

Those convicted of deportation are to be sent back to their home countries.

Brigadier Ali Alwan, director of Ajman Police, said Sheikh Humaid’s pardon underlines his care to grant those pardoned inmates an opportunity to be good citizens and reunite with their families.

“Measures to release the pardoned prisoners will be initiated immediately,” he added.

The move comes after nearly 600 prisoners in Dubai were pardoned earlier this week by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Earlier this month, the release of 84 prisoners was ordered by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, the Crown Prince of Ras al Khaimah.

Amnesties are often granted during Ramadan.

*The National

Lanka calls for release of those held in Aceh

By Yohan Perera
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Indonesia called for the release of nearly 50 Sri Lankans held in Indonesia for allegedly entering the country illegally.
A spokesman from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Indonesia told Daily Mirror that Sri Lanka had made this call after the Indonesian authorities released only eight of the 55 Sri Lankans who had allegedly landed illegally in Aceh Province on May 14. According to the Embassy over 55 Sri Lankans illegally landed in Aceh, in their attempt to enter Australia after their boat sprung a leak after being caught up in a storm.
The Indonesian authorities had decided to free eight Sri Lankans following which the Sri Lankan Ambassador proceeded to Aceh Province to convince the migrants to return to Sri Lanka. This has been done with the approval of the Sri Lankan government.
After this development, eight other Sri Lankans who were detained by the Indonesian authorities have also agreed to return to Sri Lanka.
They will now leave for Sri Lanka shortly to re-unite with their families and relatives. These eight immigrants are said to be residents of Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee.

Lankan among runaway maids held in Sharjah

Inspectors from the Sharjah Department of Naturalisation and Residency say they have found 25 runaway maids which included one Sri Lankan, living in a one-bedroom apartment.
Among the other 25 maids 15 were from Indonesia, and nine from the Philippines.
Furthermore, 39 maids who fled their jobs elsewhere in the emirates were found living illegally in Sharjah last month as part of ongoing inspections, said Col Dr Abdullah Ali Saeed bin Sahoo, department director.
There are increasingly more runaway maids in the emirate, bin Sahoo said, which is why the department is conducting raids. The campaign will continue until the end of the year, he said.
The department arrested 14 other maids, 13 Ethiopians and one Indian, who were living in the Abu Shagara, Buteena and Bu Daniq areas.
The runaway maids would find work by giving their phone numbers to building watchmen, who would approach residents and ask if they were looking for maids, bin Sahoo said.
Only nine of the maids arrested had Sharjah visas, he said, and others were from other emirates.- The National

Workers enter country via GCC and other Asian countries bypassing embassies' authorities

Visa department ''wasta'' bypassing embassies'' contract rules
"A bilateral government agreement must be established by both countries in order to avoid such incidences. This is a clear issue of human trafficking and this is a violation in all aspects of human rights and will strain diplomatic relations between countries. These companies such as this international hamburger chain respect no authorities and no concern at all should they violate any rights such as human trafficking," added source.
Another Asian diplomat added that his embassy has encountered several cases, such as unregistered nationals who ask for assistance, yet had no records in the embassy. Investigations report that these individuals enter the country via direct hire and commercial visa, which are later processed into work visas. The diplomat added that any of its foreign embassies in other countries are not allowed to provide entry visas to companies, which have been placed on a blacklist. He further explained that its domestic ministry has the list of companies, which have existing and unfinished legal cases with their nationals.
"There are no job contracts from our embassy in Kuwait, which can be endorsed by our foreign embassies in other countries and no deployment of workers from our country will be allowed even if entry visas have been issued by the host country should the company that is hiring has been blacklisted. This is one way of protecting the rights of our nationals. In case of companies using other companies'' names or employers should we find out, we immediately send a formal letter asking for an explanation and if they fail to respond then we blacklist the company too," added the diplomat.
"Although our main mission is to protect our nationals, but we also need to respect and bide by the laws of the host country," added the diplomat.
On the issue of transparency to media, an Asian diplomat stated that his embassy has direct orders from his company in that no labor issues must be disseminated to the public and that its labor department chooses to deal with their nationals'' issues within the embassy premise. He further noted that although many of their nationals have accused the embassy of not attending to their needs and solving the problems, nevertheless he stated that the embassy''s main diplomatic mission is to protect its nationals and, contrary to the accusations made by its nationals, provide legal, spiritual, psychological and physical support are rendered by his embassy to nationals who require such services.
"Being too transparent is beneficial to the diplomatic mission and its nationals concerned although they are putting strain on diplomatic ties between both countries. Certain legal issues could be settled without involving the media, although in several cases, members of the media present unbiased news and discuss issues of both sides," added the diplomat.

Indian missions to have community welfare fund

Lets Follow India

Mohammed Rasooldeen | Arab News

RIYADH: The Union Cabinet of India has approved the setting up of an Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in Indian missions in 17 countries, including the Kingdom, to meet contingency expenses for welfare of overseas Indian citizens who are in distress.
Confirming the announcement on Thursday by his government, Rajeev Shahare, deputy head of mission of the Indian Embassy told Arab News that the new decision would help augment the existing funds of the ICWF that has been functioning in the mission for the past 10 years.
“The new move follows a proposal made by the Indian Embassy in Riyadh to offer such services to other missions that have large concentration of Indian workers in their respective countries,” Shahare said, adding that he was happy that his mission’s model is to be emulated by others in the region. The proposed fund by the Indian government, estimated at Rs.16 million, is aimed at providing boarding and lodging for distressed overseas Indian workers in domestic sector and unskilled laborers providing initial legal assistance to the overseas Indians in deserving cases and expenditure on airlifting the mortal remains to India or local cremation/burial of deceased in such cases where a sponsor is unable or unwilling to do so as per the contract and the family is unable to meet the cost.

OECD: Korea Should Open More Doors to Migrant Workers

OECD: 한국은 이주근로자에 좀더 개방적이어야
Korea is said to be one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. The National Statistical Office projects that by 2050, four out of 10 people in the country will be over the age of 65, which will be the highest in the OECD. As the population grows older, the working population is expected to drop by more than 15 percent in 2050, dealing a serious blow to the nation's economy.

The OECD says the solution to this problem is in lowering Korea's threshold for immigrants. In order to cope with the country's shrinking working population, the OECD advises that Korea should supplement 14 percent of its population with migrant workers from 2020 to 2050.

By holding on to the virtue of homogeneity, Korea has always been on the OECD's list of countries where national and foreigner distinction is prevalent. As of 2007, foreigners who have acquired Korean citizenship accounted for a mere 1.5 percent of the total population.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Guarria said countries should keep in mind that "the benefits of migration are shared between sending and receiving countries," and stressed the importance of "responsive, fair and effective migration and integration policies."

According to a recent study by Hyundai Research Institute, migrant workers' productivity is expected to increase Korea's GDP by nearly 0.5 percent and the amount of money they spend here is expected to amount to almost W4 trillion (US$1=W1,260). Keeping the doors open to more immigrants is more likely to bring a positive rather than a negative effect to the economy, according to the study.

Stranded Lankan Tamil refugee rescued

A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee was rescued by police from the third sand dune off Dhanushkodi coast near here early this morning after he was dropped there by Lankan fishermen, police said.

They said the 33-year-old man, Shivakumar, from Aralipatti in Jaffna had paid Rs.40000 to the fishermen to ferry him to Rameswaram. But he was dropped at the third sand dune yesterday. Police rescued him after local fishermen informed them about the stranded refugee,the sources said.

Meanwhile, 16 Tamil refugees, who were suspected to be militants and sent to special refugee camp at Chengalpattu, returned to Mandapam camp near here today after a police verification confirmed them to be civilians,the sources added.

Medical translation available for migrants

외국인 근로자를 위한 의료통역서비스 실시

Beginning today, migrant workers will be able to receive the results of their health checkups in their native languages, the Labor Ministry said yesterday.
A foreign worker, who wants to get a detailed explanation on his or her medical examination, will also be able to talk to the medical staff with the help of a translator over the phone or through the internet, officials said.
The translation and interpretation service will be provided in 10 languages, including English, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Indonesian and Russian.
Under the law on industrial safety and health, migrant workers have received regular medical checkups, but complained of difficulty understanding the results written only in Korean.
As of March, about 470,000 migrant workers are registered here. Some 119 workers suffered job-related disease last year while 138 workers suffered disease related to their jobs in 2007, according to the ministry data.
Such a service is the first of its kind since the country introduced the Industrial Trainee System 16 years ago.
The ITS was introduced to teach foreign apprentices advanced technologies and to make up for the lack of manual workers at so-called "3-D" jobs - difficult, dangerous and dirty ones which most Korean natives shun. The system was abolished in 2007.

Medical translation available for migrants

외국인 근로자를 위한 의료통역서비스 실시

Beginning today, migrant workers will be able to receive the results of their health checkups in their native languages, the Labor Ministry said yesterday.
A foreign worker, who wants to get a detailed explanation on his or her medical examination, will also be able to talk to the medical staff with the help of a translator over the phone or through the internet, officials said.
The translation and interpretation service will be provided in 10 languages, including English, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Indonesian and Russian.
Under the law on industrial safety and health, migrant workers have received regular medical checkups, but complained of difficulty understanding the results written only in Korean.
As of March, about 470,000 migrant workers are registered here. Some 119 workers suffered job-related disease last year while 138 workers suffered disease related to their jobs in 2007, according to the ministry data.
Such a service is the first of its kind since the country introduced the Industrial Trainee System 16 years ago.
The ITS was introduced to teach foreign apprentices advanced technologies and to make up for the lack of manual workers at so-called "3-D" jobs - difficult, dangerous and dirty ones which most Korean natives shun. The system was abolished in 2007.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lanka cautions Kuwait expats over swine flu threat The

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has alerted the Sri Lankan authorities including the Ministries of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and Health and Nutrition, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and the media regarding a swine flu threat in Kuwait and its implications for the large Sri Lankan expat community.
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait also has taken measures to keep the Kuwait authorities duly informed of the risks involved with regard to the transmission of disease among the vulnerable sections of the society and sought their assistance to carry out health check-ups on individuals needing such preventive measures and medication.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that there is an outbreak of swine flu in Kuwait that has caused infections of over 1200 people including 5 deaths as of 2nd September.
It is reported by the Kuwaiti health authorities that over 99% of those infected have recovered and that they are well equipped to handle any emergency situation.
According to the WHO sources, swine flu epidemic in Kuwait is expected to worsen in the coming months which coincide with flu season in the Gulf during September-November period. The large migrant community in Kuwait is particularly vulnerable to swine flu outbreak with their high rate of mobility.
However, it is noted that in spite of the current outbreak of swine flu, there has been no government restrictions/advisory issued by the Kuwait government against people entering Kuwait for employment and otherwise which may also equally apply for Sri Lankans seeking employment.

18 Nepalis stranded in Sri Lanka

KATHMANDU, Sept 4: Eighteen Nepali workers bound for South Africa have been stranded in Sri Lanka, after the broker accompanying them died after drowning in the sea near Colombo.
The Nepali embassy in Colombo informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on August 17 that the workers were stranded after their job broker Lok Bahadur Dahal of Panchankanya VDC of Sunsari died on August 13.
The embassy said Dahal had accommodated them in Ceylon Continental Hotel and had dues of Sri Lankan Rs 270,000 (Nepali Rs 390,000) to the hotel.
However, the embassy has not mentioned the names of the workers languishing in Colombo for over three weeks.
The MoFA has written to the Ministry of Labor and Transport Management (MoLTM) to proceed with necessary measures to rescue the workers.
“Visas of the six among the stranded for stay in Sri Lanka have expired and the return tickets of a few of them have also expired. So, we directed the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) and Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) for necessary actions on Wednesday,” said an official at the MoLTM. (REPUBLICA)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sri Lankans in Qatar to lose jobs


A group of Sri Lankans in Qatar has informed Sri Lankan Embassy there to find them alternative jobs as there is a risk of losing their employment in the very near future. Among those who have sought help of the Sri Lankan Embassy to find them employment are about 200 Sri Lankans who have been employed in Qatar for many years.

Speaking to ‘Lankatruth’ several who have sought the assistance of the Sri Lankan Embassy said they have been already told by their employers to find other jobs. They said many firms are to be closed down due to the world economic crisis and those who are employed in these firms are faced with being unemployed if they fail to find alternative employment soon.

They also said the police certificate obtained in Sri Lanka is compulsory when applying for another job but this has become an issue now as the police certificate they had handed over to the present place of employment is not valid and they have to submit a new certificate. They said there is no process to get a new police certificate.

12 Lankan fishermen held in India

TUTICORIN: Twelve Sri Lankan fishermen who veered into Indian territorial waters were arrested in mid-sea by an Indian Coast Guard patrol vessel and brought to Tuticorin.
ICGS Veera while on patrol on Sunday spotted the fishermen in two boats fishing some 60 nautical miles northeast off Tuticorin.
The vessel’s Commandant Udhal Singh said the crew of 12 manning the two fishing boats ‘Nathali’ and ‘Ashen Putha’ were illegally fishing in Indian waters.
“Illegal fishing affects the prospects of Indian fishermen and with illegal fishing being on the rise the Coast Guard has intensified patrolling,” Commandant Singh said.
The fishermen hail from the fishing village of Anbathanvila near Kalpitiya and had set out to sea on August 22.
They claimed they had entered Indian waters because of tangled nets, but sources said they had clearly come with the intention of netting a good catch. The Thermalnagar police are investigating. -
Express News

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lankan immigrant taken back to UK on court order- British HC

The British High Commission in Colombo says the Sri Lankan passport holder who was reportedly helped by a British High Commission official in Colombo to travel to London without a valid visa was an immigrant whose application to a British court challenging her removal from UK went in her favor and had to be taken back to London at the expense of the British government.

A statement by the British High Commission in Colombo said that the Sri Lankan woman was removed from the UK under immigration procedures. She had challenged her removal and the UK Court of Appeal found in her favor and ordered the UK Border Agency to reconsider.

The UK Border Agency instructed that she be returned to the UK at government expense and with the full support of UK Border Agency staff at the British High Commission in Colombo as a courtesy. Given the particular circumstances of the case the requirement for a visa was waived and because there is no category of visa for someone in these circumstances.

“There is discretion within UK legislation to allow the visa requirements to be waived in certain cases. The individual concerned presented herself in the normal way to the airline check in desk and the immigration at the airport. Neither the airline nor immigration sought any further explanation or clarification of the reason for her travel without a visa. British High Commission in Colombo staff accompanying the individual co-operated fully with SL authorities and did not seek to interfere in anyway,” the British High Commission in Colombo said.

British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes was summoned to the Foreign Office in Colombo on Friday. By Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama to convey the Government’s displeasure over the move to send the lady back to UK on the grounds that it had violated local immigration laws.