Sri Lankan officials join Easy Exit push

Bonny Mascarenhas

Efforts to increase awareness of the Easy Exit scheme are being extended to the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom. Honorary Consul-General P.B. Higgoda told the Bahrain Tribune yesterday that billboards are to be set up across the Kingdom to inform Sri Lankans of the scheme.

“Over 250 Sri Lankans have already availed themselves of the scheme. Ten were on work visas, the rest were domestic workers. Most were women,” the honorary consul-general told the Tribune.

The Easy Exit scheme allows expatriates living illegally in the country to return home without having to pay their accumulated immigration fines.

“I inform our people during community and other events but we want to spread the word out,” Higgoda stated. Information about the scheme was distributed to Sri Lankan nationals yesterday at the Sri Lankan Club, where officials from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait were present to provide consular services.

Around 200 nationals attended yesterday’s event and sought help from the consular officials on matters such as passport renewal and the attestations of birth certificates and other documents.

A similar event will be held today and will be attended by W. Kahawatta, third secretary at the embassy in Kuwait. Higgoda explained that billboards are to be set up providing information on the Easy Exit scheme and listing his contact information for use by nationals requiring his assistance.

There are currently several such billboards across the country providing contact numbers for Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani nationals. Similar advertisements have also been put up on public transport buses.

Higgoda is also seeking to set up a video presentation about the scheme for Sri Lankans. Video presentations in several languages are being shown at community events and road shows across the Kingdom.

The presentations are conducted by LMRA, Radio Voice and Janatha Cultural Centre (JCC). The video messages urge illegal residents to avail themselves of the Easy Exit scheme. The first video road show was held in Manama on July 9 and was attended by nearly a thousand people.

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