Sri Lanka doctors, accountants lead brain drain

Oct 25, 2009 (LBO) – Doctors and accountants top the outflow of skilled professionals from Sri Lanka, seeking better opportunities in developed countries, a study on migration has said. But government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists in May, ending the 30-year conflict, and raising hopes of an economic revival.

The government has said it is trying to attract Sri Lankan migrant professionals to either return or invest back in their country of birth to help with the recovery.

The IPS study said that because of the brain drain, in the health sector, there are only 800 specialist doctors in Sri Lanka to serve a population of 18 million. The island faces a shortage of skilled people in many fields, according to the report on the migration outlook for Sri Lanka done by the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank, for the International Organisation for Migration.

“Each year around 60 doctors leave for the UK, Australia, Canada and other nations in the developed world to complete a year’s compulsory training, but only half of them actually return, exacerbating a growing crisis in health care services.”

The study said Sri Lanka has the highest expatriation or migr