*To be set up in two-three weeks
*No Lankans affected by unrest

Rasika SOMARATHNA
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has decided to set up a special office in Bahrain to facilitate the needs of over 15,000 Sri Lankans working in that country.The move is expected to benefit the large contingent of Sri Lankan migrant workers in Bahrain as Sri Lanka does not have a permanent mission there.

The decision to set up an office by SLBFE comes amidst concerns expressed by relatives back home on the safety of their loved ones due to the prevailing political unrest in Bahrain.

However, the SLBFE yesterday assured that all Sri Lankans working in Bahrain were safe and that the new office to be set up within the next two – three weeks would be capable of assisting the migrant workers’ need.

The new office is being set up on the instructions of Foreign Employment Promotions and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera. Earlier, the needs of Lankan migrant workers had to be looked into by the Sri Lankan mission in Kuwait.

Bahrain is considered a popular destination for Sri Lankans seeking employment abroad. Over 7,000 Sri Lankans left for work in Bahrain last year.

An SLBFE officer said yesterday that contrary to certain reports, there was no visa ban or any travel restriction for Sri Lankans visiting Bahrain.

Meanwhile, foreign media reported that an on-line expatriate registration process for Sri Lankan nationals has been initiated by officials to locate them fast in the case of an emergency. In this regard the support of man power agencies too have been sought, they added.

According to reports from Bahrain, not a single Sri Lankan national has come to harm or has been affected due to the prevailing situation.

Source: http://www.dailynews.lk/2011/03/29/news01.asp