The Minister of Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka Thalatha Atukorale discussed cooperation in the employment sector in relation to Sri Lankan workers under the Employment Permit System (EPS) in the Republic of Korea during her meeting with the Korean Minister of Employment and Labour Lee Ki-kweon on Thursday 18 May 2017 in Seoul.
Minister Atukorale expressed her deep appreciation to the Korean Government for the employment opportunities provided to Sri Lankan workers under the EPS and for the continued support extended therein. Minister Lee appreciated the mutually beneficial collaboration under EPS, acknowledging its importance to Sri Lanka – Korea bilateral relations. Reference was also made to the strengthening of employment relations when the two countries celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations this year.
During the visit, Minister Atukorale also met with the President of Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRD) Prof. Park Young-bum and the Chairman of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives (Suhyup) Kim Im-kweon and discussed issues related to employment and welfare of Sri Lankan workers in Korea in manufacturing, construction and fisheries sectors. She appreciated the strong support extended by HRD for the welfare of Sri Lankan workers. Special attention was paid to discussion of issues relevant to Sri Lankan workers in the fisheries sector.
During discussions, Minister Atukorale also briefed Korean interlocutors on action taken by the Sri Lankan Government with the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) as the sending agency, to further streamline the recruitment process, to reduce illegal stay by Sri Lankan workers after completion of contract, and the mandatory pre-departure training introduced for workers in the fisheries sector. The Korean Government appreciated efforts made by Sri Lanka in this regard.
Minister Atukorale also visited a manufacturing (printing) company and a fish farm in Gimpo city on Wednesday 17 May where she met with the Korean CEOs and Sri Lankan workers, examined factories / work sites and discussed working conditions with the Sri Lankan workers.
Minister Atukorale’s visit also entailed participation as chief guest in two Sri Lanka promotional events, a food festival and a dance performance, organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Seoul with the Millennium Seoul Hilton and the Korea Foundation, on 17 and 19 May, respectively, to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in the Republic of Korea Manisha Gunasekera; Member of the Board of Directors of SLBFE Neville Karunarathne; Counsellor (Employment and Welfare) Jagath Batugedara and staff of the Sri Lanka Embassy were associated with the visit. Approximately 25,000 Sri Lankan workers are employed in Korea under the EPS.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
Seoul, Republic of Korea