Srl Lankas Migrants to Middle East to be Limited





The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to soon pass a law to regulate foreign labour in member countries, similar to the one passed by Saudi Arabia that seeks to reserve 10 percent jobs for locals, foreign media reports said.

The new law being mulled by the GCC would include returning ‘marginal’ and unskilled foreign workers to their home countries.

The GCC is a 6-member grouping with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates as its members.

According to the latest Central Bank annual report, Middle Eastern countries continued to be the major market for Sri Lankan labour in 2012.

Four Middle Eastern countries, namely, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE together accounted for 84.3 percent of total migrant workers in 2012, compared with 80.3 percent in 2011.

Despite calls by various pressure groups to end the sending of Lankan housemaids to Middle Eastern countries, the number of women departed seeking employment as housemaids in 2012 increased by 10,735 to 118,235 in 2012, the latest Central Bank Annual Report showed.

Being the largest manpower category headed off for foreign employment in 2012, housemaids account for 42.3 percent of the total departures, up from 40.9 percent in 2011.

As the number one foreign exchange earner, Sri Lanka received US $ 5.98 billion by way of remittances in 2012.

Meanwhile the GCC will also attempt to eliminate workers who claim skills that they do not possess. The plan is said to be under study, a leading official was quoted by the Arab News as saying.

“There are responsible parties in the Council looking for a mechanism to verify whether or not the expat worker does have the skill the Gulf demands,” Fawzi Al Majdali, Secretary General of the programme for restructuring the labour force and the executive agency in Kuwait was quoted as saying.

Kuwait has recently said that it will cut down and send away 100,000 expat workers who are considered marginal in order to replace them with local labour.

Saudi Arabia’s labour law ‘Nitaqat’ makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. (Daily



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