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Indian worker’s death: Questions over visas

14 May 2012 09:03 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Amid the death of an Indian worker at a Gampaha steel factory, immigration and emigration authorities are asking people to help trace foreigners working in Sri Lanka without valid work permits, officials said yesterday.

The Indian man Manas Kumar Mallick had been accidentally electrocuted while working as an assistant fitter at the privately owned steel plant.

As fallout of this tragedy, Sri Lankan authorities wonder whether foreigners who arrive here on tourist visas find employment at various factories being operated by investors from their home countries.

Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said he would instruct his officials to check whether the Indian workers at this steel plant had valid work permits.

“If they have come on tourist visas and found employment, we can take action against them under the Immigration and Emigration Act. If guilty they will be liable to a fine and deportation,” he said.

Mr. Perera said his department had published a newspaper advertisement urging the people to inform the authorities if they know of such instances were foreigners are found to be working here.

“This particular incident is an eye opener,” he said.

Labour Relations Minister Gamini Lokuge said some 98 Indian workers were attached to this steel plant in Gampaha, and they contributed to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees Trust Fund (ETF).

“There are guidelines imposed by the Board of Investment (BoI) for such workers. With BoI approval, investors can bring employees from their respective countries, subject to various conditions.  In this case, contributions have been made to the EPF and the ETF. But I am not sure whether they have come on tourist visas or with valid work permits issued according to BoI rules,” the minister said.

He said several Indians were operating harvesting machines in areas such as Batticaloa.

“They have come here as tourists on two or three month visas,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)

  Comments - 5

  • John De Silva Wednesday, 16 May 2012 05:49 AM

    Employers should be find for employing without proper doucmnets. Hefty fines should be imposed by the Govt.

    SM Monday, 14 May 2012 09:12 PM

    Immigration officials must be blind. If they are Indian, come from India, look like typical labor people and poor then they are not tourists! Some of these Indians come from Kerala during the rice harvest season on tourist Visas to work the fields. Tourism board thinks tourism is up.

    Royalist Tuesday, 15 May 2012 12:33 AM

    So,paying EPF & ETF gives them work permits?

    Bigfoot Tuesday, 15 May 2012 01:39 AM

    Please visit Hambantota and you can find many "so called tourist". This is a open secret. Why all the fuss now.

    automatic Tuesday, 15 May 2012 01:44 AM

    Why you are asking people to help find illegal workers? You don't have a proper system to track those who overstay their visas? Even in India, if a foreigner overstays they know how to find and deport? So why you can't do same? Asking people to snoop around and inform authorities.


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