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Migrants, not technology, to ease Sri Lanka construction labour shortage

ECONOMYNEXT – Labour shortages in Sri Lanka’s construction sector are more likely to be overcome by incoming migrant workers rather than technology adoption, a new study by the International Labour Organization has said.

Most advanced construction technologies require a high rate of investment, but despite the rapid growth of the sector globally, technology adoption by Sri Lankan firms has been slow on the uptake, it said.

This was mainly due to high costs and complexity in implementation, said the report on future of work in Sri Lanka, done for the ILO by India’s Tandem Research.

“While construction technologies could potentially address the sector’s labour shortage in Sri Lanka, low awareness of technological possibilities among the construction industry has slowed the uptake of modern construction methods,” it said.

“The lack of regulation of inward labour migration makes it much easier for construction companies to rely on investment on low-skilled labour by foreign workers, instead of investing in technology.”

(COLOMBO, March 26, 2019-SB)

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