(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has pointed out the need to direct workers with recognized certificates for their skills for employment abroad.
The President made this observation at a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat Yesterday afternoon (06) on the future plans of the State Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Market Diversification.
President Rajapaksa directed the officials to expedite and streamline the process of sending skilled workers with internationally recognized qualifications and certification to the field of foreign employment. It will bring better benefits to the country as well as the workers and ensure job security, he pointed out.
Pointing out that there is a high demand for skilled workers in the world job market, President Rajapaksa emphasized the need to implement training programs targeting the job market in countries such as Korea and Japan, and instructed the Bureau of Foreign Employment and the Vocational Training Authority to work together to formulate plans.
He noted that the job market in Eastern European countries such as Poland and Romania is now open to Sri Lanka and hence a workforce suitable for that market needs to be created.
He pointed out the importance of identifying foreign employment opportunities for graduates and revealed that due attention had not been paid to them. Even art graduates should be able to take advantage of these opportunities.
Migration for employment is a key component of Sri Lanka’s economic development and the total migrant community in Sri Lanka is 1.2 million.
It was revealed that about 200,000 people go abroad for employment annually and that number has been reduced to 40,000 this year due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
It was stated that classes have already been started at 17 training centers to expand the language skills and training of skilled workers to establish a pool of workers to successfully deploy a large number of skilled workers overseas immediately after overseas airport and airspace open successfully coping with the outbreak of the COVID- 19 epidemic.
The President further instructed the Bureau of Foreign Employment to hold discussions with the relevant agencies and sectors to extend the employment contracts of workers who are unable to return to the country due to COVID-19 pandemic even though their employment agreements have expired.
He noted that State banks must work from the side of the worker to bring in their foreign exchange earnings to the country.
Basil Rajapaksa, Head of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival, said that this could be promoted by introducing more attractive and creative programs.
Mr. Basil Rajapaksa said that state-owned banks could set up a mechanism to deliver foreign exchange sent home by migrant workers to their home, thereby preventing the improper flow of money, such as Ondial.
Employment agencies that send workers abroad must act more responsibly. There are allegations that the involvement of these institutions in the harassment of workers abroad is inadequate. The primary purpose of sending workers abroad is not to earn foreign exchange but to provide them with a better standard of living.
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, State Minister Piyankara Jayaratne, Secretary to the President PB Jayasundera and Secretaries to Cabinet and State Ministries, Heads of Line Institutions were also present at the discussion.