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Sri Lanka: MOU to Be Signed

(May 23, 2012) According to Dilan Perera, the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Oman and Sri Lanka are planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on manpower issues. On the whole, Perera said, conditions are good for workers from his country in Oman, and he added that, “compared to other countries in this region, Oman has lots of Sri Lankan professionals working in important sectors and Omani employers have been treating Sri Lankan workers well.” (Mrudu Naik, Sri Lanka Set for Manpower MOU, THE TIMES OF OMAN (May 19, 2012).)

Perera met this month with Oman's Minister of Manpower, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Bakri. The draft of the MOU has been completed, and it is expected to be signed in about two months, following approval from the Sri Lankan government. (Id.)

The draft MOU covers a number of aspects of labor matters, including contracts, welfare issues, training, recruitment, and a social security plan. A joint commission will be established to work on the details. (Id.)

Perera also mentioned that Sri Lanka is working on a method to maintain the voting rights of migrant workers who have gone abroad, as well as a program to make it possible for workers who leave the country as migrants to have a pension. “We want to tell the migrant workers that the ministry has not forgotten their contributions and that we will evolve a pension scheme so that when they come back home or reach the retiring age, they will be entitled to pension,” he added. (Id.)

A large number of Sri Lankan workers leave to work overseas each year. In 2010, 266,445 people left the country to work abroad, an increase of 7.8% over the previous year; 93% went to Middle Eastern countries, but only 6,370, about 2.4%, went to Oman. (Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Annual Statistical Report of Foreign Employment 2010 (Mar. 11, 2011).)