Nov 23, Colombo: Minister of Justice and Foreign Employment Thalatha Athukorala says due to the mediation of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) 115 migrant workers who did not receive wages were paid Rs. 51.64 million as salary arrears from January this year.
The Minister said the SLFBE was able to bring back many female migrant workers who were trapped overseas with no information received for many years and the respective embassies have taken legal actions against their employers.
The Minister added that the Bureau was able to get back all outstanding arrears of salaries and related compensation from the legal action taken by the missions in those countries.
One such case is that of Ms. KG Kusumavathi who was trapped in Saudi Arabia for 17 years. She was brought back to the island and paid Rs. 3.6 million as compensation.
In another case Ms. Marimutthu Rajamalar, who worked in Saudi Arabia for five year without pay was paid Rs. 1,527,933.75 October 27.
The Bureau was able to get Mohamed Haseem, who had been jailed after his employer falsely accused him, free from his sentence and bring back to the country on October 11. He was paid Rs. 1,586,700 as arrears for 15 months and compensation for the inconvenience he suffered during the prison term.
Ramaiya Peramashwari, a resident of Peradeniya who worked for 10 years without any salary, received Rs. 2 million as unpaid salaries through the intervention of the embassy officials. In another incident Mrs. Nalini Fernando, who was trapped in Oman for 16 years, was brought to Sri Lanka in May 2017. She was given a Rs. 3.6 million as her arrears.
In 2016, 51 migrant workers were paid Rs. 24,834,526.84 as salary arrears.
The Minister said since she assumed duties as the Foreign Employment Minister in 2015, many women who were trapped in Middle Eastern countries were brought home and they were paid the due salary arrears.
In addition, 113 migrant workers who faced difficulties during their employment overseas were granted Rs. 22.9 million from the Migrant Workers' Welfare Fund.
She further said that the Bureau was able to save these female migrant workers due to the dedicated efforts of the officials of the Bureau and the embassy staff.
The Minister said the government is responsible for the employees, who register in the Foreign Employment Bureau and leave for overseas employment legally, and they are entitled to all the benefits and facilities provided by the Bureau.
She added that if any problem arises in the workplace, steps will be taken through the embassies to bring them to the country.