The first batch of migrant workers selected under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the governments of Italy and Sri Lanka left the island yesterday.

The first batch included eight females as attendants. The air tickets were presented to them by Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment on Friday. The minister speaking at the occasion said 77 Sri Lankans have been selected for employment in Italy through an exam conducted by the Italian government based on this MoU.

"The eight females leaving as attendants as the first batch will receive higher remunerations and privileges. When this event is reported in the media, various fake groups will start collecting money saying they would send people to Italy. They will even misuse my name and the secretaries names," Perera said.

"Therefore I stress with responsibility not to give any money to a third party in search of Italian jobs since only the ministry and the bureau are involved in this initiative.

I request the people not to be deceived by rackets by organised gangs," the minister said. Bureau officials said the selected migrant workers will receive employment visa for four years, adding that at the end of this period they should return to the country without violating the conditions of the MoU. They said no third party has been involved in this procedure, adding that suitable persons are selected by an exam conducted by the Italian government from the online applications received. Ministry Secretary Col. Nishshanka N Wijeratne and the Minister's Private Secretary Somasundaram also participated.