Dubai: An estimated 230,000 Sri Lankans in the UAE are required to register themselves with their diplomatic missions by July 31.

A lack of community data has often resulted in difficulties in reaching out to the community at the time of major announcements, rules and regulation.

The diplomatic missions have currently placed adverts in UAE local media urging community members to register themselves within a month's time.

The special registration process will run from July 1 from 9am to 3pm. The residents are required to bring along ID cards and employers' details.

"Those who are unable to come to the consulate or embassy in person can e-mail or fax the required details," said Janaka Bandara, Sri Lanka's Ambassador in Abu Dhabi.

In reply to a query on the data bank of all Sri Lankans with the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBE) in Colombo, Bandara said: "Yes, all Lankans who go overseas for employment have to register with the bureau but there are quite a number of people who had a change of job and address. Some of them abscond after they go overseas so even if their overseas contact details are with the SLBE, it does not necessarily come in handy."

According to information provided by the SLBE there was an increase in the total departures for foreign employment in 2007, compared with 2006.

It also reveals that, in 2006, total departures for foreign employment were 217,306, which was the highest for the period of 2006-2007.

In the early stages, male migration from Sri Lanka was recorded as the highest. However, it has gradually changed into female dominancy since 1988. But since 2001 the situation has changed and male migration has gradually increased.

As per the direction of the presidential Task Force, compulsory registration for foreign employment was initiated in 1995. As a result the sudden increase was visible in the documented migration flow since 1995.

The airport survey conducted by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (1990-1994) does not reveal such a sudden actual increase. According to the survey, nearly 125,000 people migrated for foreign employment annually, and 55 per cent of them had not registered with the Bureau of Foreign Employment.

Statistics before 1995 have shown low migration rates due to large number that migrated without registering at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, whose statistics are not counted for.

This special registration programme is supported by the Consul General office in Abu Dhabi. Sri Lankan Embassy Abu Dhabi Tel: 026316444 / 026331661 E-mail: Sri Lanka Consulate General, Dubai Tel: 043986535 Fax 043984687 Email: website

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