Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the UAE were established in July, 1979, and in the same year our resident Mission was opened in Abu Dhabi on 19th July, 1979, with a Charge d’ Affairs as Head of Mission, and later upgraded to the Ambassadorial level in 1983.
The rationale for opening a resident Mission in 1979 was entirely the presence of a large number of Sri Lankans working in the UAE. It is estimated that around 238,000 Sri Lankans, mostly employed in the field of Information Technology, Professionals from Banking & Financial sectors, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Paramedics, Hospitality industry, Middle level technicians in Construction Companies, Garment sectors, and domestic helpers are currently employed in the seven Emirates that comprise the UAE. The focus has therefore been on labour but now there is a necessity to change this and actively engage ourselves in promoting bilateral trade relationships, investments, tourism in Sri Lanka, co-operating with the financial sector and tourist promotion.
Our Consulate General in Dubai is also primarily concerned with looking after the welfare of the large number of Sri Lankans, and Tea Promotion Unit promoting the Sri Lankan Tea, and in recent times it has engaged in trade promotion by organizing participation in a number of trade fairs and exhibitions and other efforts at promoting trade.
The Mission hopes to move in the areas of economic, cultural, Trade, Tourism and investment activities relating to these sectors.
Consulate Office in Dubai started in 1993 upgraded to Consul General Status in 1999.
The bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the UAE are marked by warmth and extreme cordiality.
The Government of Sri Lanka has entered into an Agreement with the Government of the UAE for avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with regard to taxes on income on 24th September, 2003.
Migrant workers are generally well treated with incidence of mistreatment and harassment being much less compared to other countries in the GULF. The Safe House for destitute female migrants maintained by the Embassy has an average of 10 to 12 at any given time.
Apart from the main international organizations our two countries are members, we have come together recently in IOR-ARC. UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Zayed visited Sri Lanka in 1976 as the Head of the country’s delegation for the NAM Summit.