The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) was established under the Act of Parliament No. 21 of 1985 and is the sole authority regulating foreign employment in Sri Lanka. The Act stipulates objectives with regard to Sri Lankans employed outside Sri Lanka under a temporary work agreement. Under the Act, the SLBFE undertakes measures to regulate and streamline the process of labour migration, i.e., the protection and welfare of Sri Lankans working outside Sri Lanka and their families.
Employment for Sri Lankan workers in the Republic of Korea is provided under the Employment Permit System (EPS) implemented by the Korean Government. The first bilateral agreement (MOU) under EPS was signed between the Governments of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea in 2004. There are approximately 30,000 Sri Lankan employees working in various sectors, i.e., manufacturing, construction and fisheries, in Korea under EPS.
The Employment and Welfare Section of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Republic of Korea comes under the purview of a Counsellor (Employment &Welfare) from the SLBFE under the supervision of the Ambassador. The Section handles issues related to the welfare and protection of Sri Lankan migrant workers in Korea. It provides the following services to fulfill the objectives of the SLBFE.
Service Functions of Employment and Welfare
- Maintaining close relations with the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labour, the Human Resources Development Service of Korea, the Ministry of Justice, the National Pension Service of Korea and Migrant Centres, among other Korean labour-related institutions, to ensure the welfare of Sri Lankan workers and to resolve issues arising from time to time.
- Renewal of SLBFE Registration of Sri Lankan employees.
- Handling complaints received from Sri Lankan employees in Korea and Sri Lanka, and Next of Kin (NoK) in Sri Lanka.
- Visiting hospitals to support Sri Lankan employees under medical care following illnesses and accidents.
- Visiting prisons, courts, immigration authorities and the police as relevant to extend support to Sri Lankan employees serving jail terms or awaiting trial.
- Facilitaing monetary support in the event of unforeseen medical treatment and court proceedings.
- Arranging for immediate repatriation of employees to home country due to medical or other reasons.
- Assistance to obtain pension benefits from the National Pension Service of Korea.
- Assistance to obtain insurance benefits and compensation from insurance schemes in Korea and Sri Lanka.
- Receiving employees on arrival at the airport.
- Conducting orientation and awareness programmes for employees on arrival and during the course of their stay in Korea to provide information on living and working conditions in Korea as well as safety and vocational information.
- Conducting mobile consular and welfare services in regions outside Seoul with the Consular Section of the Embassy.
- Conducting company visits employing Sri Lankan workers in order to establish good relations with employers, to promote Sri Lanka, and to ascertain the living and working conditions of Sri Lankan employees.
- Visiting Sri Lankan employees who are victims of industrial and other accidents to facilitate medical and other support and compensation, as well as to assess and report on such incidents to enhance preventive measures.