Sri Lankans who have sought to benefit from the Amnesty declared by the Kuwaiti Government for Sri Lankans who are out of status, will commence repatriation today (19), the foreign ministry said.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who had a telephone discussion with his Kuwaiti Counterpart Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah yesterday (18 ) agreed that the first batch of returnees, numbering approximately 460, will arrive aboard two Kuwaiti Airways flights on Tuesday 19 May 2020.
The Foreign Minister also said in consultation with the immigration authorities, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait will verify and issue emergency travel documents to those Sri Lankan nationals who qualify for the Amnesty, when the Kuwaiti government reopens for them to register. The general Amnesty enables those out of status to leave with no consequences, and also to return to Kuwait for work in a legal manner.
Minister Gunawardena assured his Kuwaiti counterpart that the government of Sri Lanka is committed to facilitate future repatriation of amnesty beneficiaries in Kuwait, consistent with previous practice. However Sri Lanka would require to coordinate it carefully in a manner that is consistent with the availability of space in quarantine centres, which are limited.
The two ministers also discussed measures taken by the respective governments to face the challenges posed by COVID-19. The Minister thanked the Kuwaiti government for the support including healthcare facilities provided for over 100,000 Sri Lankans presently working in Kuwait. the Minister said the Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait in collaboration with the Sri Lankan community and other welfare groups based in Kuwait, were continuously providing dry rations to the neediest overseas Sri Lankans.