May 16, 2011 07:29 am
The Sri Lanka authorities are currently outlining strategies to slowly reduce the number of housemaids sent from the island to work in the UAE and other Gulf countries, revealed a top government representative visiting the Emirates to explore opportunities in skilled and semi-skilled Lankan labour supply.
Dilan Perera, Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare of Sri Lanka, said that the authorities are unofficially discouraging the citizens to take up housemaid jobs abroad, as the country gradually trains the people for more skilled and dignified professional opportunities.
“The title and job description of the domestic workers also have to be upgraded from ‘housemaid’ to ‘housekeeper’ in accordance with training them scientifically. There’s also a long-term term plan for demanding compulsory minimum wage system for the migrant Lankan workforce abroad,” the minister indicated.
“Supplying domestic workers to the foreign job market after ensuring their security and rights as well as welfare and rehabilitation programmes when they return to the island have been among the challenges that are unresolved often,” Perera pointed out.
Speaking on the sidelines of Sri Lanka Employment Promotion Seminar staged in Dubai on Sunday, the minister noted that Sri Lanka wants to offer more skilled and quality manpower to the UAE and other foreign job markets.
“An innovative mechanism is currently being developed in Sri Lanka to implement job-specific, country-specific and company-specific training programmes for the citizens, who seek foreign opportunities,” he said.
“We are implementing resolving the problems of our migrant manpower and improve their welfare system, by introducing education scholarship to the children of Gulf returnees. Work-related complaints such as employee or agent harassment, physical abuse, health challenges and issues of absconding maids have significantly come down at the Lankan missions in the UAE.”
“Lankan workers’ complaints are 10 times higher in other Gulf countries,” Perera said. Speaking at the seminar, Sarath Wijesinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the UAE, announced an education project for the working Sri Lankans in the UAE.
“The UAE’s Sri Lankan employees with a minimum of managerial experience are offered a global standard two-year long management education programme through a cost-effective distance learning scheme from Open University of Sri Lanka, under the direct supervision of the mission,” he said.
“The two study centres will be opened one each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where more professional courses will be introduced later in affiliation with the Open University of UK,” he added, Gulf Today reports.