Friday, 24 January 2014 00:56
By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent
There are over 12,000 Chinese and Indian workers permitted to work in Sri Lanka, Parliament was told yesterday.
By 2011, there had been 6,600 Chinese workers and 6,297 Indian workers for projects in private and public sector approved by the Board of Investment for a period of one year.
“Competency and experience, skills, and the technical knowhow” are the key factors which were taken into consideration for granting visas, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and the Leader of the House of Parliament Nimal Sirapala de Silva told Parliament yesterday.
“These workers are competent to complete the relevant development projects more efficiently and productively. The foreign workers are also being deployed in the country under foreign loans and aids as per the conditions depicted in most of the foreign aid agreements. Receipt of foreign loans and aid will be encouraged due to the deployment of such foreign workers and open doors to increase the benefits received,” said Minister de Silva, in response to a question for oral answer by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake raised on Indian workers being employed in Sri Lanka.
The Minister also confirmed that approximately 32 projects implemented in the country between 2006 and 2011 on loans and aid provided by the Indian Government had led the Government to issue work visas to Indian nationals.
“A considerable number of Indian nationals were brought into Sri Lanka by entrepreneurs on the recommendation of the line ministry to be employed in factories, specifically engaged in iron manufacturing. The Indian nationals have most probably invested money in these projects,” he confirmed.
“Levying visa fee is being carried out on the mutual agreement of both countries and is an amount equal to the amount being levied from Sri Lankans by the Indian Government under each category,” added Minister de Silva.