State institutions and private companies are now permitted to obtain the services of foreign professionals, technical experts and skilled labour not available in the country, following the approval of the BOI that will issue a work permit for a specific time period, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
President Rajapaksa told the Daily Mirror that state institutions and companies must apply for specialised foreign human resources through the BOI and if and when the BOI approves the request, the Immigration and Emigration Department would issue a visa to experts and professionals for a limited period to work in Sri Lanka on a ‘Work Permit’.
Moving into a middle-income country from lower middle-income country, Sri Lanka must now start importing human resources not available in the country from other countries for her development programmes, President Rajapaksa added.
He said Sri Lanka was ready to achieve the Per Capita Income of US$ 4,000 this year much ahead of its targeted year of 2016 as Sri Lanka’s Per Capita income stood at US$ 3,280 in 2013.
“We must begin importing skilled labour, technochnical and professional know-how which are rare or unavailable in Sri Lanka from other countries. We must also start training skilled labour in Sri Lanka for local and foreign job markets. But this process must not negatively affect the local job market,” President Rajapaksa emphasised.
For instance, a technical school has already been set up in Kandy to train carpenters to international level in the construction industry, he added.
“Nearly 10,000 foreigners are already working here after arriving on tourist visas,” he said.
Meanwhile, corroborating what President Rajapaksa said, the Director Media of the BOI, Dilip Samarasinghe said a Singapore company ‘Fonda International’ recently started a training programme under a BOI project to train professionals and skilled labour for the construction industry in Singapore at the Katunayaka Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).
“Right now they are training two groups in 200 batches to train as highly skilled labour for Singapore’s industrial sector as the construction industry in Singapore maintains very high standards,” Mr. Samarasinghe said.
Another German Company ‘Kramski’ expects to invest in a project in collaboration with the German – Sri Lanka Technical Institute (GSLTI) in Moratuwa to train technicians needed for that country. The recruitments will be done from among youth qualified from the GSLTI, he added.
Mr. Samarasinghe said the ‘Nano-Technology Park’ opened recently at Pitipana, Homagama had started the research and training of experts who used nanotechnology in their professional work in various fields. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)