According to the World Bank, the unemployment rate in Sri Lanka was 5.3% in 2022. This means that there are about 400,000 Sri Lankans who are unemployed. and Nuwan Samararatna is a thirty old man from Mathara who stood three days in a queue to get a passport with dreams to find employment in the West. He is still holding onto his passport after applying for vacancies in Canada, Qutar, Oman, UK. france, Latvia, and Sweeden.
Lanka Newsline spoke to a number of experts and this is what they had to say:
Dr Sujatha Mahagamage educationalist: Diversification of the Sri Lankan economy: The Sri Lankan economy is heavily reliant on tourism and agriculture, which are both vulnerable to external shocks. In 2020, the tourism sector in Sri Lanka collapsed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a significant increase in unemployment.
Dr Kithsiri Kolambage, economist – The education system in Sri Lanka focuses on theoretical knowledge rather than practical skills. This makes it difficult for Sri Lankan graduates to find jobs that match their skills and qualifications. According to a study by the World Bank, only 13% of Sri Lankan graduates are employed in jobs that match their skills.
Company CEO Harshadeva Dharmavijaya -The cost of living in Sri Lanka is high, especially in urban areas. This makes it difficult for Sri Lankans to save money and invest in their education and skills development. According to the World Bank, the cost of living in Sri Lanka is 40% higher than the average for low-income countries.
Thamara Liyanage former Director of Education Many Sri Lankans do not speak English fluently, which makes it difficult for them to communicate with potential employers abroad. According to a survey by the British Council, only 10% of Sri Lankans speak English fluently.
Nevil Karunathilaka former UN consultant – Many Sri Lankans do not have any international work experience, which makes them less attractive to potential employers abroad. According to a study by the International Labour Organization, only 1% of Sri Lankans have worked abroad.
Media expert Marlon Hettihewa – Some countries have strict visa requirements that make it difficult for Sri Lankans to obtain a work visa. According to the World Bank, Sri Lanka is ranked 100th out of 190 countries in terms of ease of obtaining a visa.
These opinions and statistics show that there are a number of challenges that make it difficult for Sri Lankans to find jobs abroad. However, there are also many opportunities for Sri Lankans who are willing to work hard and overcome these challenges.