Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Last of stranded Lankans leave

The Sri Lankan Consulate cleared Monday the last batch of 117 stranded workers who were languishing under Jeddah's Kandara bridge, a popular location for stranded foreign laborers.

"This was the last batch of the 1,000 Sri Lankan workers who were living under the bridge in Jeddah since November," said Consul General Sabarullah Khan.

He added that the final group comprising 53 women were temporarily housed at special accommodation given by the government at the Haj Terminal near Jeddah Islamic Port.

The consulate has moved these stranded workers to the deportation camp from where they will be sent back home during this week.

Authorities from labor-remitting countries, such as Sri Lanka and the Philippines, regularly pick up stranded workers and deport them home at their own expense.

Khan explained that his office will render all assistance to prepare travel documents for these people to return to Sri Lanka. He also thanked the Saudi authorities for their help.

The consul added that his mission currently only has one stranded worker in its custody. "We have only one runaway maid at the shelter. Her case also will be settled soon," he said.

The diplomat requested the Sri Lankan workers in general to regularize their employment status in accordance with the Kingdom's regulations. "Stranded workers should report to the mission instead of squatting under the bridge," he said.

He pointed out that the food and lodging of these stranded workers are funded by the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). Under a statutory law, migrant workers from the island nation have to register themselves with the SLBFE prior to their departure for overseas work posts. The bureau has a package of welfare measures for its registrants, especially women overseas workers.

(Arab News)

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