A Foreign Placement Co-ordination Centre which has been set up at the Colombo National Hospital premises will be declared open tomorrow (3) by Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara. It will work on finding employment abroad for Sri Lankan doctors, GMOA General Secretary Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said.
Dr. Padeniya told The Island that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara had approved the project after the GMOA was able to convince them that more foreign exchange could be earned through professionals and technically qualified persons going aborad for employment.
He said foreign employment was the second largest foreign income generating avenue in Sri Lanka and more than 50 per cent of this income had come through housemaids employed in the Middle East. Around 1 million Sri Lankans were employed in other countries and 95 per cent of them were employed in the Middle East. The female component of foreign employees was 59.32 per cent of all departures in the year 2005.
Dr. Padeniya said that the total private remittances in 2005 were Rs. 191,800 million with 56 per cent of the contribution from those employed in the Middle East. The GMOA had held that earnings from skilled jobs had been playing a second role. The professionals were mainly contributing to ‘brain drain’. Most of Sri Lankan soft-ware engineers, architects, scientists and academics had left for greener pastures and would not contribute much to the national coffer.