Labor pact with Sri Lanka safeguards rights of both parties, says new CG

Sri Lanka's Consul General Faizer Mackeen

Sri Lanka’s Consul General Faizer Mackeen

Recruitment of labor from Sri Lanka enjoys a smooth sail following the recent agreement between the Kingdom and the island, Sri Lanka’s Consul General Faizer Mackeen said in Jeddah on Thursday.

The consul general was speaking to Arab News soon after presenting his commission of appointment to Ambassador Muhammad Ahmad Tayeb, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the western province, on the assumption of his duties in Jeddah.

Jamal Balkhoyoor, deputy director general and chief of protocol of the Ministry Foreign Affairs (Makkah branch), was also present at the presentation ceremony.

Speaking to Arab News, he said that the two countries have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the protection of domestic workers from the island nation in the Kingdom.

“It was an important agreement which protects both the employer and the employee. He also said that the agreement would pave the way for more workers coming into the Kingdom since it provides them adequate security.

The labor agreement for domestic workers recruitment was a joint effort by Riyadh and Colombo to create a unified and well-regulated system for recruitment with emphasis on monitoring the working conditions of workers. It covers 12 categories of domestic workers including housemaids, drivers, cleaners and waiters employed by individuals.

The agreement included provisions that stipulate that contracts should be in a language that is understood by the worker and that the worker must be informed of what to do and whom to turn to in case of an emergency.

The worker also must be made aware of the facilities available to him or her in the country of destination, especially when it comes to health and personal safety and the employer must agree to terminate the service contract after a maximum of two years if the employee wishes to leave his or her place of employment. In addition, the employee has the right to retain all his or her travel documents at all times.

Referring to the conversation he had with Ahmad Tayeb, he said it was a cordial discussion related to trade, tourism and migration.

“We exchanged views on the recruitment industry of Sri Lanka and tourism including tea and investment in Sri Lanka, while recalling the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka dating back to centuries including the signing of the agreement enhancing trade relations of both countries, which culminated in the establishment of the first embassy of Sri Lanka in Jeddah in 1981 to strengthen bilateral relations.”

The consul general said that he extended an invitation to the Saudi Foreign Ministry officials to visit Sri Lanka and stressed that Sri Lanka has become the largest tourist destination for Saudi nationals in addition to trading and manpower in the recent years.

Sri Lanka has planned to achieve a target of $ 3.5 billion as revenues from tourism and another $ 8 billion from employment industry.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest countries providing employment opportunities to Sri Lankan migrants. Further, he said, SriLankan Airlines has established daily flights from Colombo to Jeddah except on Friday and approximately 50,000 Umrah pilgrims visit Saudi Arabia for their religious observation in addition to the limited quota allocated for Haj pilgrims.


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