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Single digital platform in the offing for Sri Lankan migrant workers 

February 23, Colombo (LNW): The government plans to relieve from the cumbersome official procedure on migrant workers with the introduction of a single digital platform for their safety, welfare, and job security preventing malpractices, corruption and abuses in the industry. 

The aim is to make the foreign employment from the time of recruitment process up to completion of their services in the Middle East and other countries offering streamlined and hassle free service for migrant workers, Minister of Foreign Employment Manusha Nananyakkara said.  .   

The Minister said that the cabinet approval will be sought soon to digitise foreign noted employment sector heeding to a recent written request made by three   and appeals made made by several other civil societies and organisations towards this end. 

The members of Rural Women’s Front, Jesmin Women Organisation and Galle Business Women’s Alliance have brought to the notice of the minister the shortcomings and difficulties faced by female migrant workers.   ’

Their main request is to devise a new system of foreign employment fulfilling digitising the sector in order to maintain close contacts with government authorities to seek their assistance as and when they need any assistance from the state.

  Several foreign employment rackets have been reported in the recent past, with the involvement of fake or unlicenced employment agencies, including a human trafficking ring in Oman. 

Foreign Employment Ministry has been urged to introduce a single digitaised platform entailing all information related to foreign employment recruitment, including those travelling overseas for employment, job opportunities, employer, destination, financial transactions and licenced employment agencies. 

The Safe Foundation has already stepped into develop this IT application, but the relevant ministries and state institutions are unable to implement it due to the lack of proper infrastructure. 

However, the ministry has directed the  intend to conduct a pilot test of this application at 12 districts at the district and regional levels and later roll it out to the relevant state institutions

The proposed system is to be a centralised system that will be monitored by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and connecting with other stakeholders in the industry, Minister Nanayakkara emphasised.  

He sressed the need of regularising the informal foreign employment sector including job agents focusing on the development of the sector creating a database transforming the sector competitive and increasing skilled labour force for the next 10 years.

Therefore, this database will enable SLBFE to monitor migrant workers locally and extend any assistance needed for them in the event of a difficulty and employment and payment issues overseas, he said.The Foreign Employment Ministry will conduct countrywide awareness campaigns for both officials and the public.and provide training for officials involved in the process channels, such as banks, for monitoring purposes

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