Saudi-Lanka labor agreement to be implemented soon
Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera said that the labor agreement between Riyadh and Colombo will come into effect soon following the Shoura Council’s approval of the accord on Monday.
Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka signed a memorandum of understanding in early January, which seeks to protect Lankan domestic workers in the Kingdom.
The agreement was signed by the Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera in Riyadh.
Perera thanked the Saudi government for its efforts and cooperation, adding that the accord would serve to resolve several issues between employers and domestic workers.
He said the the Saudi and Sri Lankan officials agreed to sign the agreement during the two-day Asia-Gulf States Regional Dialogue on standard terms of employment for migrant domestic workers held in the Sri Lankan capital.
Ziyad Al-Sayigh, deputy minister for customer services and labor relations, held discussions with Sri Lankan labor officials on the sidelines of the meeting.
Representative from 20 countries including countries in the Middle East attended the dialogue, which was sponsored by the UN Women and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare.
The Lankan minister described the accord as a government-to-government accord, pointing out that under the new agreement, the original passports of domestic workers will be in their possession and their salaries will be remitted to their designated banks.
“In my view, this will be the most protective mechanism for domestic workers in the entire Gulf region,” Perera said.
There are some 1.7 million Sri Lankans working overseas.
“Under the pact, the domestic workers can be assured safety as well as decent and less problematic working environments,” he noted, adding that the agreement would also further strengthen bilateral labor relations.
Following the signing of the agreement, Fakeih issued a statement describing the agreement as an “important step,” which protects both the employer and the employee. He also said that the agreement would pave the way for more workers to come to the Kingdom since it provides them adequate security.