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Sunday, 12 January 2003  
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Digital Data Cards for our migrant workers


In a bid to protect Sri Lankan migrant workers from unscrupulous job agencies and employers and also to maintain a complete data base of such workers with personal and precise information, a "Digital Data Card" will be implemented from March 2003. It will be issued to all migrant workers before their departure.

On a directive from the Minister of Employment and Labour, Mahinda Samarasinghe, the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) will fund and implement the scheme.

Minister Samarasinghe, in an interview with the 'Sunday Observer, said that human labour "exporting" countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Indonesia had already implemented the Digital Data Card system, to effectively monitor the status of each and every migrant worker employed abroad and, it had on numerous occasions, helped the respective embassies and consulates to obtain a detailed description of their workers, even if their passports or resident permits were misplaced.

The Minister said that all Sri Lankan embassies and consulates in the world would be provided with digital data card operating machines. He said that according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently with the Saudi Arabian Government, no Sri Lankan migrant worker would be allowed to enter that country without the DDC after March 2003. "This scheme is a long-felt need as there were instances where a large number of Sri Lankans in the Middle East were stranded without passports and travel documents.

This is a secret data card which the holder should not transfer it to anyone. In case of an emergency or a crisis situation, it should be produced to the respective Sri Lankan embassy or consulate official to deal with the case", said the minister.

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