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Sri Lanka scrambles to give passports to 10,000 illegal immigrants in Italy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s embassy in Rome has made arrangements for over 10,000 persons who have immigrated to Italy illegally to get regular passports after Italy declared an amnesty during Coronavirus crisis, the foreign ministry said

The government of Italy has declared a ‘Sanatoria 2020’ amnesty from June 01 to July 14 to regularize their visa status of illegal migrants.

Amidst the present uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the context of the strong bilateral relations that have continued over the years, the

“…Sri Lankan community members in Italy have been provided the opportunity to regularise their stay through the Sanatoria, declared by the Italian Government…which provides avenues for irregular migrant workers, to obtain legal stay permit for work purposes,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Rome and the Consulate General Office in Milan have arranged facilities to cater to over 10,000 Sri Lankans who would seek consular assistance in the process of regularising their visa status.”

Sri Lanka missions in Rome and Italy have started a special consular service for applicants to get original passports within 10 working days.

A mobile service has been arranged for Sri Lankan in Sicily Island who wishes to get regular passports and visas under the amnesty.

“The process of the special Online Mobile Service includes scrutinizing documents, and interviewing applicants which will be conducted through a video conferencing mode and an electronic mailing system,” the embassy said.

“The special online mobile service will be held on 14 June 2020 commencing from 9.00 am onwards in Catania, Sicily Island.”

Italy has been a key destination for migrants from North of Colombo up to Marawila and beyond to travel to. Their friends and relatives then follow.

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The first of Sri Lanka’s Wave II Coronavirus index cases from third countries came from Italy.

Authorities at the time said those who also returned through unofficial means could register for self-quarantine without any questions being asked.

In the style of most free countries, Sri Lanka’s rulers or armed law enforcers have no legal power to prevent a citizen from re-entering the country. There are also no exit visas unlike some dictatorships or countries under military rule. (Colombo/June14/2020-sb)

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