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Oman; Sri Lanka: MOU on Employment and Training Signed

(July 2, 2014) This month Sri Lanka and Oman concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on employment and training. The document was signed in Muscat, Oman, by Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera of Sri Lanka and Manpower Minister Shaikh Abdullah Al Bakari of Oman, during bilateral talks. The MOU is designed to prevent human trafficking and illegal overseas labor recruitment. (Maheesha Mudugamuwa, Oman, Sri Lanka Signs [sic] MoU on Employment, Training, ISLAND.LK (June 29, 2014).)

Under the MOU, Sri Lanka and Oman will cooperate through employment and training exchange programs, as well as the sharing of information in those areas. In addition, there are planned visits of officials from one country to the other. Bakari gave assurances that migrant workers would not encounter discrimination in Oman, stating, “[t]hey will be treated equally as citizens of Oman.” (Id.) For his part, Perera said that he would work to inform migrant workers from Sri Lanka about Oman’s labor laws and regulations. (Id.)

The MOU has been in the planning stages for several years, as concern has been growing over the treatment of Sri Lankans working in foreign countries. By far the largest number of overseas Sri Lankan workers have gone to Middle Eastern nations. As of 2012, there were about 25,000 Sri Lankan workers in Oman, 55% of whom were women working as housemaids. Sri Lanka has already signed MOUs similar to this one with Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. (Sri Lanka to Ink MOU with Oman on Labor and Training, GLOBAL TIMES (June 15, 2012); Constance A. Johnson, Sri Lanka: MOU to Be Signed, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (May 23, 2012).)