Shorthanded

A lack of formal training and a piece of paper to prove it is keeping a part of Sri Lanka’s unemployed from finding work abroad. A lack of formal training and a piece of paper to prove it is keeping a part of Sri Lanka’s unemployed from finding work abroad. “We have not been able to meet the demand for export labour,” says Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Karunasena Hettiarachchi.

From January to June this year 164,157 foreign ‘job orders’ came to the Sri Lankan labour market.

The match rate between required skills and available labour pool was below 50 percent with only 74,704 job seekers fitting into the requirements.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s unemployment during the first quarter was 8.1 percent – 650,240 persons – out of the total labour force of 7.9 mn.

But the Bureau of Foreign Employment says it cannot meet export labour demand – particularly in the skilled categories.

As a result jobs at technician level are going a begging in Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE that are generally viewed as destinations for unskilled Sri Lankan housemaids.