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Agents responsible for welfare of female migrant workers

2013 Jul 12

By Chrishanthi Christopher



Foreign employment agents, who recruit women workers without properly screening the backgrounds of the employers in the Middle Eastern countries, will be solely responsible to pay the workers’ compensation.



The employment agents will also have to take responsibility for payments in cases such as, issues pertaining to any unwarranted ill-treatment committed on the housemaids by their employers during their working period in those countries.



These regulations, incorporated in the amendments to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) Act, will come into effect on 15 July 2013.



The changes to the Act will allow holding all registered employment agencies liable for non-payment of wages, injuries, harassment and deaths of housemaids, caused by employers overseas.



“The licensed agent will be held responsible and all cost will be calculated and recovered from the agent, in case of any mishap that may occur after she leaves the country,” Deputy General Manager of the SLBFE, Mangala Randeniya said.



Also, under the SLBFE Act, female migrant workers, who do not have a conducive atmosphere that permits them to leave their families for overseas will not be allowed to leave the country, said Randeniya.



Accordingly, women workers who want to leave the country to work in the Middle East should provide proof that their departure will not have an adverse effect on their children.



“She should be able to prove that her husband or a family member will be able to take care of the children she is leaving behind,” he said.



Also, the SLBFE is planning to train prospective employees with a two-week training course, before they leave. “This will ensure that they conform to international standards as expected by employers,” Randeniya said.

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