Sri Lankans: Latest News

No taxes on expat remittances – CBSL

COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Central Bank of Sri Lanka noted that the speculation that expatriate Sri Lankans' remittances to the country are taxed and forcibly converted into Sri Lankan Rupees is completely unfounded.In a statement, it added that there are no taxes on remittances, and expatriate Sri Lankans are free to hold such remittances in foreign currency form in their bank accounts.They can also convert such remittances into Sri Lankan rupees at their discretion, said the Central Bank.It added that expatriate Sri Lankans can continue to enjoy the current incentives without any charge whatsoever.

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Sri Lankans - Sex Trafficking: Minister says Embassy official interdicted, will be arrested - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka - Oman - city Dubai
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Sex Trafficking: Minister says Embassy official interdicted, will be arrested
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment  Manusha Nanayakkara in Parliament informed today (22) that the law will be strictly enforced against those involved in trafficking women to Oman, where they are auctioned and sold to the highest bidder.Minister Manusha Nanayakkara revealed to the parliament that as per the data available with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau there are 12 Sri Lankan women at the Safe-House in Oman operated by the Sri Lankan Embassy who had registered themselves with the SLFEB, and another 65 who had used visit visa to travel to Oman citing other reasons to Sri Lankan authorities.He added that 70 Sri Lankan women registered with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau, and 7 Sri Lankan women have used visit visa and are currently held in Dubai.The Minister went on to note that Sri Lankans who registered with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau and face issues overseas can be brought back to the country without any issue, however, there is growing concern over the rise in numbers using visit visa for employment purposes.He added that legal action was instituted on over 100 incidents of abuse, and multiple suspects were arrested based on the investigations.He revealed to the house that only 40 Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau personnel are assigned to meet the needs of all countries, however, Cabinet has approved to recruit of another 50 personnel.Minister Manusha Nanayakkara individual at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman who is accused of committing sexual abuse towards Sri Lankan women over there has been interdicted and will be brought back to the country where he will be arrested on arrival, and will be investigated. 
Sri Lankans - 5,000 Sri Lankans in Dubai for work using Visit Visa - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka - Oman
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5,000 Sri Lankans in Dubai for work using Visit Visa
COLOMBO (News 1st) – More than five thousand Sri Lankans have travelled to Dubai on visit visa for exmployment, revealed Sri Lanka's State Tourism Minister Tharaka Balasuriya on Monday (21).The State Minister also said that 19 Sri Lankans who had travelled to Abu Dhavi have also refused to return to Sri Lanka.'These groups are trying to travel to Oman for employment,' said the State Minister adding that most people are interested in overseas employment opportunities given the current situation in the country, however, stressed that it is important use official channels to travel overseas for employment.The State Minister also said that a proper study will be conducted to control the use of visit visa for employment overseas.The situation surrounding overseas employment in the Middle East reached national level condemnation after reports surfaced that Sri Lankan women were being auctioned and sold as sex slaves in Oman.Suspects Arrested:On Saturday 19th October 2022, Sri Lanka's Immigration and Emigration Department arrested a 40-year-old man at the Katunayake Airport for engaging in human smuggling.He was arrested when returning to Sri Lanka from Dubai, and was identified as a resudent from Wattala who was operating a Foreign Employment Agency in Maradana, Colombo 10.Thereafter, on Sunday (20) another suspect connected to the human trafficking ring was arrested from Avissawella.He was identified as a broker who sends Sri Lankan women to the Middle Easter, where they are smuggled from Abu Dhabi to Oman to be sold as sex slaves.The suspect was arrested based on the complaints made filed by Sri Lankan women stranded in the Middle East.Foreign Employment Agencies in hot water:The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment over
Sri Lankans - Lost at Sea: Skipper not among Sri Lankans taken to Vietnam - newsfirst.lk - Japan - Sri Lanka - Canada - Vietnam - Burma
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Lost at Sea: Skipper not among Sri Lankans taken to Vietnam
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Authorities in Vietnam have reported that the skipper of the large migrant boat that was rescued by its Navy was not among those who were rescued.Vietnam media quoting the rescued Sri Lankans reported that the captain of the iron-hulled ship LADY R3 abandoned the boat after it started drifting at sea, and then did not return.A border guard commander of Ba Ria – Vung Tau province had also confirmed the information.A Sri Lankan man had reportedly said that his group had traveled from Sri Lanka to Myanmar and from there they had boarded the LADY R3 boat to travel to Canada by sea.It is unclear if all 303 Sri Lankans traveled together or in groups to Myanmar, and how they made it to Myanmar, as investigations are pending.Before 303 Sri Lankan citizens were rescued by the Helios Leader Vessel on the afternoon of November 6th, their ship had been stalled for nearly 40 hours, unable to maneuver and was drifting freely. On the afternoon of November 8th, when the SAR 413 vessel from the Vietnamese Coast Guard organized to welcome the 303 Sri Lankan citizens from the Helios Leader vessel to shore, initially four men got off the ship, the rest refused to get off despite the persuasion of the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka, who took an entire hour to pursuade them to leave the Japanese freighter.At this time, the authorities considered the option for these four people to return to the Helios Leader, but they refused and said that if they returned, they would be beaten. Thereafter, all 303 Sri Lankans were taken off the Helios Leader in batches and brought ashore.For humanitarian reasons, the Ba Ria – Vung Tau Provincial Command for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and Search and Rescue has arranged for 303
Sri Lankans - Sri Lankan migrants in Vietnam will be repatriated soon - newsfirst.lk - Philippines - Singapore - Sri Lanka - city Singapore - Vietnam
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Sri Lankan migrants in Vietnam will be repatriated soon
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it continues to monitor the progress of the passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and bought to the Port of Vung Tau in Viet Nam on 08 November 2022.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Sri Lanka Navy that they had received information about a vessel carrying approximately 303 persons believed to be Sri Lankans which was in distress in the waters between the Philippines and Viet Nam on 07 November 2022.  Sri Lanka Navy having contacted the vessel, informed that the crew had abandoned the vessel with the passengers onboard. On the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam together with the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) based in Singapore, the rescue efforts were coordinated, said the Foreign Ministry.Subsequently, the Japanese-flagged vessel, “Helios Leader”, having been contacted by the Singapore MRCC, rescued the passengers from the distressed vessel. The passengers were handed over to Viet Nam authorities at Vung Tau Port in South Viet Nam.The screening of the passengers will be done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Viet Nam authorities and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Viet Nam.
Sri Lankans - Migrant Rescue: Sri Lankans were in a Myanmar-flagged trawler - newsfirst.lk - China - Japan - Sri Lanka - Canada - Libya - Cuba - Turkey - Vietnam - Haiti - Burma
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Migrant Rescue: Sri Lankans were in a Myanmar-flagged trawler
COLOMBO (News 1st) – In an unusual rescue operation in the South China Sea on Monday (7) , a migrant vessel attempting to make a transpacific voyage was rescued off the coast of Vietnam.More details about this dramatic rescue have surfaced following revelations made by the Vietnamese media.Migrant vessels are frequently rescued off Cuba, Haiti, Libya and Turkey, but these are generally small, improvised craft on regional journeys. The Myanmar-flagged trawler Lady R3, saved by a good samaritan ship off the coast of Vietnam yesterday, was none of these things. This substantial steel-hulled fishing vessel was attempting to make it all the way from Myanmar to Canada – another 6,000 nm away on a Great Circle route  – in order to deliver more than 300 Sri Lankan nationals to a new country. Vietnamese authorities in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, in coordination with representatives from the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, have welcomed more than 300 Sri Lankans who were saved by a Japanese freighter, after their boat faced a serious incident in the waters off the Vietnamese town.No injuries were reported, and Helios Leader transited to Vung Tau's sea buoy in order to meet up with the Vietnamese Coast Guard and transfer the survivors.At 8:30 p.m.
Sri Lankans - Eight Sri Lankans among crew detained in Equatorial Guinea - newsfirst.lk - India - Sri Lanka - Poland - Nigeria - Central African Republic
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Eight Sri Lankans among crew detained in Equatorial Guinea
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Eight Sri Lankan sailors, who are part of a 26 member crew of MT Heroic Idun, an oil vessel, have been "illegally" detained by Equatorial Guinea since 14 August.Apart from the Sri Lankan sailors, the crew also includes 6 Indian sailors and a national each of Poland and Philippines.As per the crew, their vessel was arrested by an Equatorial Guinea naval ship on international waters on 12th August and brought to Luba port under naval escort and threat of legal action.The vessel was arrested based on a request made by Nigeria.The Nigerian Navy says it is conducting an investigation into the activities of MT HEROIC IDUN, a supertanker, arrested by Equatorial Guinea forces over alleged crude oil theft in Nigeria.The vessel and its crew were arrested on August 7th by the Central African country after it fled from Nigeria’s AKPO oilfield when its alleged activities were uncovered by operatives of the Nigerian Navy.Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, spokesperson of the Nigerian Navy, confirmed that the vessel is on it way back to Nigeria for further investigations.He said after the investigation is complete, the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) will determine whether or not the vessel and its crew will be prosecuted by the federal government.The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited in September said it loses $700 million every month as a result of oil theft and vandalism at terminals.The Incident: The Heroic Idun ship was supposed to load cargo of crude oil in Nigeria’s AKPO terminal on 8 August, but as per terminal instructions the loading operation was delayed and the ship never made any operations in Nigeria.The same evening, the ship was approached by an unidentified craft claiming
Sri Lankans - Novel by Sri Lanka’s Shehan Karunatilaka wins Booker Prize - newsfirst.lk - Usa - Sri Lanka - Britain
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Novel by Sri Lanka’s Shehan Karunatilaka wins Booker Prize
Colombo (News 1st) – Sri Lankan Writer Shehan Karunatilaka won the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction on Monday (17) for “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida,” a satirical “afterlife noir” set during Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war.Karunatilaka, one of Sri Lanka’s leading authors, won the 50,000 pound ($57,000) award for his second novel. The 47-year-old, who has also written journalism, children’s books, screenplays and rock songs, is the second Sri Lanka-born Booker Prize winner, after Michael Ondaatje, who took the trophy in 1992 for “The English Patient.”Karunatilaka received the award from Camilla, Britain’s queen consort, during a ceremony at London’s Roundhouse concert hall.The judges’ unanimous choice, “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” is the darkly humorous story about a murdered war photographer investigating his death and trying to ensure his life’s legacy.Karunatilaka said Sri Lankans “specialize in gallows humor and make jokes in the face of crises”.“It’s our coping mechanism,” he said, and expressed hope that his novel about war and ethnic division would one day be “in the fantasy section of the bookshop.”Former British Museum director Neil MacGregor, who chaired the judging panel, said judges chose the book for “the ambition, the scope and the skill, the daring, the audacity and the hilarity of the execution.”“It’s a book that takes the reader on a rollercoaster journey through life and death, right to what the author describes as the dark heart of the world,” MacGregor said.
Sri Lankans - Gammadda Door to Door moves to three new districts in search of the peoples issues - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Gammadda Door to Door moves to three new districts in search of the peoples issues
COLOMBO (News 1st) – It is no secret that the prevailing economic crisis has led to the disruption of the day-to-day lives of the general public. How many families have been impacted by this unprecedented economic crisis? Has sufficient attention been given to those who are severely affected? The Gammadda Door to Door initiative continues to identify a range of issues faced by average Sri Lankans. On Monday (10), which was Day Six of the Sixth edition of the Gammadda Door to Door program, the team that completed it's tour in the Jaffna district reached the Killinochchi district.They visited the Malayalapuram area in the Karachchi Divisional Secretariat, where most of the residents are day-wage earners.Unfortunately, the economic crisis left them with no work, ruining their chances of providing for their families. Gammadda teams in the Ratnapura district visited Handagirigoda, Handagiriya, Kolonna andSuriyakanda villages in the Welligepola Divisional Secretariat and met with the poverty-stricken estate workers living in Suriyakanda. People in this area do not have the luxury of enjoying cell phone services as the area lacks the basic facilities. Unlike most areas in Sri Lanka children in the area do not have access to online education.Gammadda teams in the Polonnaruwa district toured many areas in the Hingurakgoda Divisional Secretariat. On top of the economic crisis, people in this area face wild elephant threats. 
Sri Lankans - Four of seven Sri Lankans in Ukraine are medical students - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka - Britain - Russia - Ukraine
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Four of seven Sri Lankans in Ukraine are medical students
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Four out of the seven Sri Lankans who were held captive by Russian forces in Ukraine have been identified as medical students in the city of Kupiansk, while the other three were identified as workers.This information is being revealed in contrast to the rumors circulating with regard to the captured Sri Lankans being illegal immigrants, and the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's brief about the seven Sri Lankans being medical students.A report by the Associated Press citing a press conference held at Kharkiv Police states that the Sri Lankans were tortured at a factory in the area which was captured by Russian forces, and were beaten, mainly because they could not understad the language.The former captives include Nilojan Vasanthakumar, 20, Uthayakamar Mary Edid Prema, 50, Sharujan Gianeswaran, 25, Thinees Jokenthhiran, 34, Dilukshan Robertclive, 25, Dilujan Paththinajakan, 20 and Ainkaranathan Ganesamoorthi, 38.According to the captured Sri Lankans, six among the group were held in a large upstairs room, while the seventh, the only woman, was kept in a dark cell by herself. On 17th September, the Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelenskyy in his briefing noted that seven Sri Lankan students were found in 'torture chambers' where civilians were abused by Russian soldiers in areas of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine. One man said he was shot in the foot by the Russian captors. Another had a toenail ripped off after the soldiers repeatedly bashed it with the butt of a rifle.“Every day we were cleaning toilets and bathrooms,” Dilukshan Robertclive, one of the former captives, said in English.
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