The repatriations of Seychellois stranded overseas will be carried out strictly in accordance with guidelines and criteria set by health authorities, a process being facilitated by the local foreign affairs department.
The director of consular affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Terry Rose, said in an interview with the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday that "for each group of people that we bring through Foreign Affairs, we need to make sure that we satisfy the health and immigration, among other concerned authorities."
He added that there is also the need to make sure that the foreign government agrees for Seychelles to collects its people.
"The other countries also have their guidelines. This is where our ambassadors come in, where they negotiate around the guidelines to make sure that we can satisfy the government in question. They are the ones on the ground and know the context," said Rose.
Over the past few months, ambassadors in different countries have been dealing with cases of people who wish to come back to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
"These cases have been sent to us and until Friday, the ambassadors were still adding names to the list as some people were just learning about the repatriation flights. We contacted all our honorary consuls in the world to trace within their jurisdictions if they know of people who are stranded," said Rose.
The department announced that the first cut-off point is on June 15, though work will continue to identify Seychellois citizens and residents who are stranded overseas and bring them into the country.
"Our jobs as diplomats is to defend Seychelles in the world, and protect our people in the world based on executive orders," said Rose.
At the moment the department has three confirmed manifests of people who can come back into the country. Coordinated between Air Seychelles, the foreign affairs, health and immigration departments, these three groups conform to the requirements and have final endorsements.
On Saturday evening eight Seychellois nationals were brought home on an Air Seychelles flight from Dubai. On board were also diplomats coming to work in their respective embassies and their families.
This is part of the airline's series of special flights to get foreigners stranded in Seychelles out of the country, and fly in Seychellois, diplomats and non-Seychellois residents on return flights. There will be three other such flights to Doha, Johannesburg and Mauritius.
In regards to Seychellois students who have completed their studies overseas, Rose said that the Agency for National Human Resource Development (ANHRD) has already compiled a list, which indicated that there are students in around 35 locations.
"At the same time, they have given us a list, as per their policy, of students who are not supposed to be coming back to Seychelles. We are waiting for the list of students who do not fall under the policy, but whose family has decided that they want to return to Seychelles," said Rose.
He said that for connecting flights, the department is guided by other authorities.