The Government of Sri Lanka urges the Sri Lankan expatriates who wish to return to their Motherland from abroad to safely remain where they are now until the risk of COVID – 19 virus is minimized.
The Government has taken several effective initiatives to prevent the spread of the pathogen. In order to stop the virus coming into the country and its spread, the Government had completely banned passenger arrivals from overseas.
The Government has announced that the requests made by Sri Lankans overseas to return will be considered after containing the disease in the country.
Therefore, the Additional Secretary to the President on Foreign Relations, Admiral Jayanath Colombage requests all Sri Lankans who wish to return, to stay safely where they are at present while sharing their information with the Sri Lankan Mission or Consulate General offices in their respective countries.
FOREIGN MINISTRY LAUNCHES‘CONTACT SRI LANKA’-ONLINE PORTAL FOR OVERSEAS SRI LANKANS IN COLLABORATION WITH ICTA
‘Contact Sri Lanka’ an online portal jointly created by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) for the benefit of Overseas Sri Lankans was launched today (26 March 2020) at the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The web link is hosted on the Ministry web page www.mfa.gov.lk and also can be accessed at www.contactsrilanka.mfa.gov.lk.
Establishment of the portal, is pursuant to the call made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for coordinated efforts by all Government stakeholders to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and to harness digital technology to prompt faster and more efficient service delivery.
All Sri Lankans living abroad are invited to register voluntarily on the platform’s basic functionalities allowing the Government of Sri Lanka to reach out and provide assistance during emergencies such as the COVID19 outbreak. This platform will allow the Ministry to access real time data for quick action. The open access platform would also facilitate Overseas Sri Lankans to interact between government stakeholders, promoting greater access to the Government services through a single centralized point at the Ministry of Foreign Relations. This Portal will also connect Overseas Sri Lankans with the network of Sri Lanka Missions abroad.
In the long term, the Portal will be expanded and is expected to serve as an official source of information and facilitate Overseas Sri Lankans in obtaining a wider range of digital services offered by the Government.
A dedicated team of officials have already been assigned by the Ministry of Foreign Relations to respond to queries of Overseas Sri Lankans and also to act as an online help desk, during emergencies in consultation with relevant stakeholders. Registration by country will also allow the Ministry to propose concrete policy decisions in critical response situations such as evacuation etc., depending on the number of emergency assistance requests generated.
For easy facilitation, the portal also includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which will serve as a guideline for generic queries. This user friendly platform can be easily navigated via the internet, on any browser or interface and can be accessed by all registered users to direct a query or request assistance, even from a mobile phone.
The data provided through this portal is protected to ensure the privacy of Overseas Sri Lankans and will not be shared without the consent of the users.
The ICTA will be working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Relations in expanding the features of the portal in stages, to create a comprehensive online service platform for Overseas Sri Lankans, via the ‘Contact Sri Lanka’ Portal.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations, is hopeful that this integrated platform will elevate its existing service delivery for Overseas Sri Lankans to a higher level, particularly allowing rapid response in times of emergencies. All Sri Lankans living abroad are invited to benefit from this portal.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
26 March 2020
Foreign Ministry facilitates outward movement of foreign nationals
Arrangements are being made for the smooth return of foreign nationals who are presently in Sri Lanka on tourist and other visa categories. This will be done using both regular flight movements operating through Sri Lanka and also charter flights that may be deployed, as the airport remains open for outbound passenger movements.
Modalities to facilitate these movements were discussed today at a meeting chaired by Secretary Foreign Relations, Ravinatha Aryasinha. The meeting was attended by the Ambassadors representing the western hemisphere as well as representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Police Department, Department of Immigration, Airport and Aviation Services, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Civil Aviation and Sri Lankan Airlines.
In view of the curfew which has been imposed, the Acting Inspector General of Police has assured that the air ticket could be used in lieu of a curfew pass for the passengers as well as the vehicle and driver that would be transporting the passengers. Chairman SLTPB said reputed taxi networks and hoteliers have been requested to assist in these movements.
During the meeting, the diplomats present drew attention to the continuing difficulties faced by their nationals presently in the country on account of negative reactions experienced by tourists on some occasions from both owners of tourist lodgings as well as sections of the general public. The Sri Lankan agencies present emphasized that public measures would be taken to ensure Sri Lanka’s traditional hospitality to foreign nationals in these difficult circumstances.
Special telephones lines have been set up to ensure that such instances will be reported promptly and dealt with.
Special contact facilities have also been provided to those foreign nationals who are being moved to the quarantine centres.
Following the appeal made by Sri Lanka earlier this week, the representatives of several governments informed that they had taken steps to extend visas of Sri Lankans abroad whose visas would have or will expire shortly. The Foreign Ministry was assured by the other countries that its request was receiving the highest consideration in other capitals. Earlier, Sri Lanka extended visas for all visiting foreign nationals by one month.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
20 March 2020
Sri Lanka urges foreign states to extend visas of visiting Sri Lankans
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has requested foreign governments to facilitate the appropriate extension of visas for Sri Lankans currently visiting their countries, and facing difficulty to return to Sri Lanka on account of the travel bans that have and will become applicable as part of the control measures on COVID- 19. He noted that the Government of Sri Lanka had on Tuesday (17 March) announced a one-month extension of all types of visas for those foreign nationals presently in the country, from the date of expiry of their present visas. He said such reciprocal arrangements were a common practice, and hoped that this could be facilitated for Sri Lankans, to minimize the anxieties faced by those travelling, in these exceptional times.
Foreign Secretary Aryasinha made these observations today (18 March), when he addressed a group of Ambassadors from Western Hemisphere, as part of the series of briefing sessions to keep the diplomatic community informed of the developments with regard to measures taken by Sri Lanka to control the spread of COVID-19.
While appreciating the supportive role played by the respective governments on assisting the Sri Lankan communities in their countries, the Foreign Secretary shared with the envoys present, the current status regards foreign nationals in Sri Lanka and some difficulties experienced by Sri Lankans overseas. He said, recognizing the concerns at present, all Sri Lanka diplomatic outposts now serve as emergency response units, where only limited consular and other services are continued to be offered amid the current challenges.
Concerns of foreign missions in Colombo over their citizens, facilities at the quarantine centres, and proper communication channels, were effectively responded to by the local stake holders present. The meeting also reached consensus on the smooth departure of foreign nationals, notwithstanding the closure of the airport for those seeking to enter Sri Lanka.
The envoys expressed appreciation for the efforts of the government in handling the situation, including extension of visas for their nationals, and assured that the request to reciprocate the same for Sri Lankans travelling in their countries will be communicated to their respective governments.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
18 March 2020
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka has established a 24/7 hotline as follows: 0049 69 660 539 80 0049 1515 723 1741 0049 1776 929 472 0049 1521 432 2779
In view of the present circumstances of the continuous spread of Coronavirus in the Federal Republic of Germany, the authorities of Germany has recommended additional measures including the reduction of the number of trips, avoidance of public transport and minimizing public gatherings, where possible, to further reduce the risk of an infection. Please find the full special notice here. Sinhala, Tamil and English
The Consul General of Sri Lanka, Frankfurt am Main presented the Letter of Commission to  his excellency Volker Bouffier, Minister President of the State of Hessen at a ceremony held on the 15th of May 2019 at the Hessen State Chancellery. The Consul General during the ensuing conversation outlined the long standing friendship between the two countries and reaffirmed the commmitment to further relations in all areas of engagement during her tenure. The Minister President firstly extended the condolences for the recent Easter Sunday Attacks and condemned terrorism wholeheartedly.
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