ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka will reduce the hassle of bringing in specialist skills for export sectors like information technology where the procedure is long and time consuming, State Minister for Finance Eran Wicrkremeratne said.
Software who needed specialist skills to deliver project, but they were not available in Sri Lank, had to make an application to the IT ministry, which then referred it to the ICTA agency, which then made a call on whether the skill was available or not.
The immigration authorities then issued the work visa, all which was time consuming and involving multiple steps, Anushka Wijesinghe, Chief Economist at Ceylon Chamber of Commerce told a forum promoting economic freedom, organized by Colombo-based Advocata Institute and Fraser Institute of Canada.
Minister Wickremaratne said the government had proposed the authority to be given to the controller of emigration.
The industry will be asked to give input on a list of skills that they would need which would be revised annually.
Minister Wickremeratne said in terms of doctors are lawyers, the profesional bodies were against any relaxation of rules and the government did not intend to include them in the easy list.
Wickremaratne said protectionism by professional bodies was strong and the goverment also understood the need for standards both international and local.
In the US, Silicon Valley firms are among the most vocal in opposing tighter immigration rules, proposed by the increasing nationalist agenda pursued by the Trump administration.
They have pointed out that the ability to get skills was a key reason for the sector's success. Some of the top IT firms in the US have been founded by recent immigrants.
In Sri Lanka however only work visas are proposed. Under Sri Lanka's immigration law, there naturalization is not possible. (Colombo/Oct11/2017)