Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, Dinesh Gunawardena met with the Secretaries and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), today (10 April 2020), at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, to discuss ramifications emanating from the present Coronavirus pandemic to Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad and to explore possible mechanisms to assist these Sri Lankans.
Minister Gunawardena explores practical solutions to assist expatriate communities with Foreign Ministry Officials
Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena met with senior
Foreign Ministry takes stock of action by Sri Lanka Missions abroad to ensure the welfare of Overseas Sri Lankans (OSL)
The Ministry of Foreign Relations, sensitive to the concerns of the OSLs amidst the rapid spread of the COVID-19 and the inability to return to Sri Lanka, has held consultations over the past 2 days with its Heads of Missions based in 67 cities across the world, to facilitate the wellbeing and safety of Overseas Sri Lankans, while preparing for any exigencies they could have to meet in the coming days.
Central Bank requests Sri Lankans and well-wishers to make foreign currency deposits in the Country’s banking system
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has made an appeal to Sri Lankans and well-wishers living in Sri Lanka and abroad to make foreign currency deposits within the country’s banking system of Licensed Commercial Banks and Specialised Financial Institutions as a gesture of goodwill and assistance to Sri Lanka and its people during the three months commencing from April 2, 2020, in support of the wide-ranging national effort to safeguard people from coronavirus, to bring its spread under control and to provide healthcare and social security to the people.
The Central Bank has announced that foreign currency deposits in Sri Lankan banking system at this difficult stage will be of immense help to authorities to tide over the present crisis.
The Central Bank has guaranteed that foreign currency deposits into the Sri Lankan banking system will be accepted without hindrance from the government, Central Bank or any other government authority, and future convertibility of these deposits into foreign currency whenever the depositors desire to do so. All such foreign exchange remittances will be exempted from Exchange Control Regulations and taxes and protected under banking secrecy provisions.
Having considered the spread of Covid-19 virus in the country, it has been decided to further extend the validity period of all types of Visas issued to all foreigners who are currently residing in Sri Lanka for another 30 days.
Such foreign nationals are kindly requested to proceed as advised below:
- The validity period of all types of Visas will be extended till 12th May 2020.
The Government of Sri Lanka urges the Sri Lankan expatriates who wish to return to their Motherland from abroad to safely remain where they are now until the risk of COVID – 19 virus is minimized.
The Government has taken several effective initiatives to prevent the spread of the pathogen. In order to stop the virus coming into the country and its spread, the Government had completely banned passenger arrivals from overseas.
The Government has announced that the requests made by Sri Lankans overseas to return will be considered after containing the disease in the country.
Therefore, the Additional Secretary to the President on Foreign Relations, Admiral Jayanath Colombage requests all Sri Lankans who wish to return, to stay safely where they are at present while sharing their information with the Sri Lankan Mission or Consulate General offices in their respective countries.
‘Contact Sri Lanka’ an online portal jointly created by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for the benefit of Overseas Sri Lankans was launched on 26 March 2020. The portal can be accessed at www.contactsrilanka.mfa.gov.lk.
Establishment of the portal, is pursuant to the call made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for coordinated efforts by all Government stakeholders to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and to harness digital technology to prompt faster and more efficient service delivery.
All Sri Lankans living abroad are invited to register voluntarily on the platform’s basic functionalities allowing the Government of Sri Lanka to reach out and provide assistance during emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Portal offers user friendly registration creating a profile or using any existing email logins. Registered users are able to request assistance from the Foreign Relations Ministry by filling a simple form.
In the long term, the Portal will be expanded and is expected to serve as an official source of information and facilitate Overseas Sri Lankans in obtaining a wider range of digital services offered by the Government.
For easy facilitation, the portal also includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which will serve as a guideline for generic queries. This user friendly platform can be easily navigated via the internet, on any browser or interface and can be accessed by all registered users to direct a query or request assistance, even from a mobile phone.
The data provided through this portal is protected to ensure the privacy of Overseas Sri Lankans and will not be shared without the consent of the users.