quota:What has the Minister done?
Korean job quotas offered to the Sri Lankan government
are riddled with controversy with claims of an alleged political
interference and money-making deals resulting in genuine job seekers
being deprived of a chance of employment in Korea.
Sri Lanka received slots for 13,000 Korean jobs
from the period August 2004 to August 2006 but so far only some
3,500 Sri Lankan workers have been sent to Korea.
However sources claimed that countries like Malaysia,
Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Mongolia have made
the best use of the job quota given to them by the Korean Government.
Though Sri Lanka has received 13,000 job quotas
by the Korean Government, it is up to the Korean employers to select
the number they want to employ.
In this context promotion activities are required
to make the Korean employers aware about the capabilities of Sri
Lankan job seekers.
But Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) sources said
that the Employment Ministry is not dong enough to promote Sri Lankan
job seekers in Korea.
Initially the FEB charged Rs. 83,000 to send workers to Korea but
now they charge Rs. 177,000.
The FEB is earning a profit of approximately Rs.
100,000 by way of a single worker. The charge was increased saying
the extra funds were needed for promotional activities in Korea.
Korean job seekers were initially selected through paper advertisements
but as time went on this system was abandoned and instead the persons
nominated only by politicians are now being selected for Korean
wrong, says Labour Minister
Labour Minister Athauda Seneviratne denied
allegations that Korean jobs have been politicized and misused
for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining money from job seekers.
He said applications had been called for jobs in Korea through
a paper advertisement and said the ministry was still receiving
applications and the selection process was continuing. The
Minister emphasized that people shouldn’t pay money
to various people in the hope of obtaining Korean jobs and
said the CID was asked to investigate a fraud in the Korean
job division where two officials accused of allegedly tampering
with the names of job seekers were interdicted. However The
Sunday Times learns that these officials are yet to be questioned
by the CID.
A Ministry official told The Sunday Times that
some 3,000 applicants were selected through newspaper advertisements;
1,000 by a top official of the FEB, 1,500 through the Labour Minister
and about 2,000 more were selected through recommendations made
by the MPs and ministers.
Reportedly some people with strong political clout
and their relations were making use of Korean jobs to earn commissions.
It’s alleged that these people make it possible
for people to go to Korea through government avenues on the payment
of an amount which was over and above the official fee.
It has come to light that some people had even
paid amounts ranging from 300,000 to 400,000 make their way to Korea.
The demand for Sri Lankan workers in Korea has
not been so encouraging when compared with those coming in from
other countries. One of the reasons is that persons who are able
to work under difficult conditions and who possess a basic knowledge
about their jobs have not been picked by Sri Lanka. This has made
the Koreans to favour workers from other countries who were more
committed and competent in the relevant fields they were selected
“It isn’t a question of Sri Lankans
being unwilling to work hard or not being competent; the problem
lies in the selection process.
For example if a person living in Colombo is sent
to work in a farm in Korea, he will find it difficult to fit in
well. Authorities should open the market for qualified people as
a means of increasing our job quota without politicizing it,”
a ministry official on the condition of anonymity emphasized.
It is known that though Sri Lanka had been offered
1,000 jobs in the agricultural sector only about 300 persons have
been employed in that sector and it is the bad track record of Sri
Lankan employees that has brought about this unfortunate situation
resulting in the reduction of the market.
A few months ago Minister Seneviratne -- referring
to the people who returned to Sri Lanka having abruptly terminated
their jobs – said such people who were unable to work hard
should not go to Korea for employment and this will create a bad
impression of Sri Lanka.
It has come to be known that names of job seekers
selected by Korean employers have been tampered with by certain
unscrupulous officials and other names inserted in their place and
sent to Korea.
Here the modus operandi has been to change the
photograph in the application of the person approved by employers
in Korea and the photograph of another attached instead.
Then with the help of a forged passport such a
person is sent to Korea.
Ravi Lasantha (28) in Wadduwa, one of the victims
of this racket told The Sunday Times that though he was selected
by a Korean employer to work in a plastic manufacturing company,
he was not informed of his selection but instead somebody in the
FEB without his knowledge had written to his prospective employer
saying he was unable to accept the contract.
Lasantha said this was done to deny him the chance
of a Korean job and to enable somebody else favoured by the racketeers
in this business to travel to Korea.
He said he came to know later that his photograph
which was in the website of job seekers had been replaced by that
of another though his remained unchanged.
Another racket was to delete the names of genuine
job seekers who passed the medical examination and insert the names
In one instance Minister Athauda Seneviratne had
written to the FEB chairman on October 27 last year asking that
names of 30 people who were earlier rejected by Korean employers
be included in the Korean job website.
In his letter the Minister had also told the FEB
chairman not to send these 30 people for medical examinations at
a government hospital which was the usual practice before the names
were forwarded to Korea through the FEB.
On December 21 last year the Minister had asked
the FEB Korean Job Division manager to delete three names from the
Korean list on the request of a party organizer in Batticaloa.
Two officials in the FEB Korean job division were
interdicted in February for allegedly inserting other names in the
Korean list in place of the one sent by the Minister.
Though the Minister undertook to refer the matter
to the CID and the Bribery Commission so far the matter was lying