Lebanon agrees to conduct free PCR tests for repatriating Sri Lankans

6 June 2020 02:12 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Government of Lebanon has agreed to conduct free PCR tests for Sri Lankans seeking to be repatriated, the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) said. In line with the Sri Lankan policy on repatriating Sri Lankans overseas, Ambassador to Lebanon Shani Calyaneratne Karunaratne had discussed the issue with Lebanese Minister of Labour Lamia Yammine at the Ministry premises on June 01. The Ambassador requested assistance from Lebanon to conduct the PCR test on a free of charge basis enabling the Embassy to prepare for the returnees to leave. The Minister requested the list of persons already submitted to the Directorate of General Security (Immigration Department) for clearance for exit visa and also requested the intervention of the Labour Ministry for an exemption for penalties. The Minister agreed to look in to the requests and inquired about the 24 hour telephone hot lines maintained by the Embassy. She also added that the workers could contact the Lebanese Labour Ministry. Subsequently, the same day, the Labour Ministry informed the Embassy that the PCR test will be done for the Sri Lankan migrant workers for a nominal fee of US$ 20 instead of US$ 100 per person if they are returning. However, in the announcement of Cabinet decisions on June 4, it was announced that Lebanon will waive the US$ 20 and it will be done free of charge as requested by the Embassy. "As the numbers on the list of returnees is growing, the Lebanese decision saves a sizeable amount of funds to the Government of Sri Lanka," the MFR said. Ambassador and the Minister also discussed the pending MOU on migrant Labour from Sri Lanka and the Unified contract, minimum wage and the worker’s rights. Counsellor (E&W) of the Embassy P.K.T Hettiarachchi and Head of the Department of International Affairs of the Ministry Denise Dahrouj also attended the meeting.
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