Sri Lanka caught up in Saudi travel ban | Sunday Observer
Foreign job industry reacts in shock

Sri Lanka caught up in Saudi travel ban

25 April, 2021

Saudi Arabia has restricted the number of arrivals from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, the Saudi aviation authority said on Friday but this will not interrupt flights of the national carrier SriLankan Airlines to that desert kingdom, an official said.

He said those hoping to travel to Saudi Arabia will be permitted to enter that country if their visit has been authorised by the officialdom in Riyadh.

He added that selected categories such as diplomats, Government officials, VIPs and businesspersons will not be affected by this recent travel restriction provided that their visit has been officially sanctioned by the authorities in the host country.

“SriLankan Airlines will continue to remain in the Saudi Arabia sector since the national carrier does not only handle passengers but it also transports cargo”, he said.

The overseas job industry reacted with shock at the sudden announcement saying it had not been informed earlier.

“This is new to us, simply because even yesterday, a batch of Sri Lankan workers left for Saudi Arabia on a scheduled flight”, President of the Association for Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) Farook Marrikar told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

The kingdom has barred its citizens from travelling to these countries as well.

However, Saudi nationals and Iqama-holders may return to the kingdom in the next 72 hours. Thereafter, no passenger will be permitted to enter the country.

Previously, Canada, Oman and the UK had restricted Pakistanis from entering their countries