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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka denies registration to UAE, Oman bound workers on visit visas, some housemaids

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has stopped officially registering persons going to the UAE and Oman on tourist visas taking a higher risk, as well as housemaids and low-skilled categories who find jobs on their own, Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.

Due to relaxed visa regulations in the UAE and Oman workers were hired after they went to the UAE and visit visas were later converted to work visas, legitimately.

However using the provision, some racketeers were taking women without a formal employment contract and later they got into difficulties or were left stranded without a job, he said.

“We stopped registering persons who go to the above countries on tourist visas,” Minister Nanayakkara told parliament.

“Registering women going for housework on their own means (swer-yung mar-r-ger-yen) to those two countries and women going for lower-skilled work has also been halted.”

If some countries allow visit visas to be converted, is not clear what the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau is trying to achieve by cutting off the chance for those who are taking a higher risk in trying to get a foreign job by going on a tourist visa to register even when they are willing to do so.

The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau could not help bring back those who had not registered, Minister Nanayakkara said.

However, cabinet approval was obtained recently to help those who were in shelters who had not registered, he

In Oman there were 77 women in a shelter of which 12 persons had gone on tourist visa without registering and 65 others. In Dubai there were 70 women in shelters who had registered and 7 who had gone on tourist visas.

Persons who over-stay visas in Oman also had to pay a 5 riyal a day fine in addition to air tickets, he said.

Sri Lanka is now in the process of busting an alleged sex-trafficking ring where young women were taken to UAE on tourist visas and taken across the border to Oman.

Minister Nanayakkara said the investigations in to the case began around two months ago after Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe sent a team to look into the matter.

Sri Lanka had arrested two persons linked the sex trafficking ring this week, police said.

One person had been arrested after landing in the country on November 19.

“This person was identified some time ago to be involved in human trafficking but he was avoiding the police and was living in abroad for some time,” Senior Superintendent Poliuce Nihal Thalduwa Thalduwa said.

Another female whose identity was revealed after questioning the females in Oman that said to be victims of human trafficking, said to have acted as a translator surrendered herself to the police on Monday.

She had since been bailed out.

“After we received a complaint from the SLBEF, the police started investigating on the case and for further investigations the police sent a team to Oman,” Thalduwa said.

“After taking statements from 45 females who were in a safe house of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman, revealed some information regarding traffickers in Sri Lanka who said to be collaborating with some agencies sending these women to Oman,”

M.R.C.B. Ekanayaka, Additional General Manager of Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBEF), said, so far investigations by the SLBEF and Sri Lanka police has led to arresting 69 individuals and 199 cases have been filed against job agencies which had defrauded job seekers.

“We have raided 25 places that were raided and produced to court, and also the licenses of 17 agencies have been canceled permanently for engaging in illegal activities,” Ekanayaka said. (Colombo/Nov21/2022)

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Sri Lanka shares edge up at close

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s shares edged up on Wednesday pushed as investors bought in to beaten down shares following the previous session’s drop, market analyst said.“

At this price level what we are seeing is a lot of confidence from the investors to collect when the prices drop. So, the market is not falling sharply,” a market analyst said.

Market had also seen buying in Expolanka shares on speculation that the parent company of SG Holdings was buying back into the shares.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) edged up by 0.96 percent or 84.96 points to 8,950.01.

The most liquid index S&P SL20 gained 1.27 percent or 35.02 points to 2,799.53.

Banking and Insurance counters had seen interest on the back of positive sentiments from the IMF.

The central bank has said it could cut interest rates in future when the the country sees fall in inflation, which has already started decelerating.

The market saw a turnover of 1.5 billion rupees today,lower than the month’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees and nearly half of 2022 average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees.

The bourse saw a flow of net foreign inflow of 45 million rupees extending the net offshore buying to 1.9 billion so far this year.

Top gainers of the day were Commercial Bank, Expolanka, and Ceylinco Insurance. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)






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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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