Foreign job seekers caught in crossfire, left in the lurch
GAMCA says decisions made in Riyadh
A simmering stand-off between licensed foreign job recruiting agencies and the medical sector in the industry has led to severe hardships for overseas job seekers while officialdom remains silent.
Faizer Mackeen, Secretary of the Association for Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies charged that the medical sector in the industry entrusted with the responsibility of providing medical clearance certificates for these workers were complicating matters.He said that the Gulf Approved Medical Centres Association (GAMCA) the sole authority for providing medical clearance for overseas job seekers was introducing rule after rule in an arbitrary manner threatening the smooth operations of the industry.
Beginning from this year GAMCA at first raised medical fees from Rs. 4000 to 7,500 and now they have introduced a rule where the agents have been left out from the medical process, Mr. Mackeen charged.
He added that earlier it was the practice for the recruiting agent to handle the documentation of the medical requirements and this was done in bulk to minimize delays.
However, from the beginning of this month GAMCA had issued a notice that the recruiting agents could no longer handle the medical documentation and it will have to be done by the individual, Mr. Mackeen said.
Accordingly applicants have to first register with the GAMCA office in Maradana or Kurunegala before they are allocated a clinic where the medical screening will be done.
These rules have caused many hardships for those seeking overseas employment with thousands forced to stand in the open without any facilities. Many have come from outstations as far away as Hambantota and beyond, Mr. Mackeen said.
Earlier the individual didn’t have to be present physically to register since the respective recruiting agent would handle the medical documentation and later inform the prospective job seeker about the day and time he/she should be present for the medical tests at an allocated medical centre.
However, a senior official with GAMCA told the Sunday Times that the congestion was largely due to new restrictions introduced by health authorities in the gulf countries and that it was beyond their control.He said from this month the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Health Ministers Council had set up an electronic system to screen the applicants in the country and this was time consuming.
He said once the screening process was carried out the final decision on an applicant’s medical clearance was finalized in Riyadh.
“All we now do at this end is to feed the required information to Riyadh and they make the final decision before issuing a medical clearance certificate to an individual. This is not a viable concept but there is very little we can do at this end for the moment,” the official who did not wish to be named said.
A senior official with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) said they were aware of the growing problem and that discussions were being held to solve it.comments powered by Disqus