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News  


 

Sri Lanka aims to tap Qatar jobs bonanza

By Gagani Weerakoon
With Qatar being picked to host 2022 FIFA World Cup, a job bonanza for construction workers has been created in that country to put up the necessary infrastructure, including new air-conditioned football stadiums
Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau chairman Kingsley Ranawake told The Nation that the bureau would work outside the normal procedure in such a situation to grab and fill whatever job opportunities available in Qatar.
He said the bureau might even increase its cadre strength to benefit from new opportunities.
“In many previous job booms, we could not supply the workers when the demand suddenly went up. Normally our strength is only adequate to supply limited labour force and the prevailing procedure is you supply according to the demand. In this particular instance we can prepare in advance by increasing our cadre strength at the Bureau,” he said.

He said a delegation would visit Qatar in future to inspect prospective job opportunities while adding that a team from Qatar is also expected to visit Sri Lanka soon.
Qatar has recruited the highest number of skilled workers during 2009 and the total number of Lankans who departed for employment in Qatar last year was 43,744. Out of which, 20,330 were skilled workers while some 11,142 were unskilled.
There were also 6,210 who took up jobs in Qatar as housemaids in 2009.
The total number of Sri Lankans employed in Qatar is estimated to be around 130,000.
It is estimated that population of Sri Lankan employees working abroad is around 1.7 million.
Recorded sources of foreign exchange earnings show that such employees earned Rs 382,801 million in 2009 which was 47.03% of total foreign exchange earnings of the country.
According to records at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, the present outflow is over 200,000 per year.
The implementation of welfare packages for Sri Lankan employees abroad and their family members along with the compulsory registration system, has seen a decline in the rate of workers obtaining ‘illegall and un-documented’ foreign employment, by about 10 percent.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and Jordan were the major labour receiving countries that have captured over 86% of Sri Lanka labour market in 2009. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan absorbed around 80 percent of Sri Lankan employees in each and every year during the period of 2004-2008 in response to the government’s efforts to encourage the recruitment of skilled labour employees to these countries.