The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau has refuted charges that expatriates leaving for employment are being charged a fee in order to be vaccinated.
Deputy General Manager of the Bureau Mangala Randeniya said concerns have arisen as individuals who are not travelling overseas have also registered in order to be vaccinated.
Randeniya said a registration fee is being charged by the Bureau to confirm those who truly seek to travel for foreign employment.
He said the Bureau introduced a vaccination process after discussions with relevant authorities including the Health Ministry and the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak as individuals expecting to travel overseas for employment requested vaccines due to employers and agents requesting evidence of vaccinations.
He said 15,000 individuals initially registered for the programme.
The Deputy General Manager said it was revealed that certain individuals received proof of employment after receiving the first dose.
Randeniya said the Bureau decided to charge a fee and register all individuals who seek to travel overseas in order to authenticate their claims.
He said the Bureau reached a decision to provide the actual registration required when leaving the country by obtaining documents and offering pre-registrations.
He said any individual leaving the country for employment must register with the Bureau as per the country’s law and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Act.
Randeniya said the passport of any expatriate is updated accordingly by the Foreign Employment Bureau branch situated at the airport at the time of departure as the registration is only valid for a period of two years from the time of departure.
The Deputy General Manager said according to the Bureau’s data there are approximately 50,000 individuals registered.
He said the Bureau sent out a SMS to register them in order to authenticate their claims of employment.
Randeniya said individuals have confused this procedure with a fee being obtained in order to be vaccinated.