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Over 300 foreign employment agencies vie for Excellence Awards

The contributions made by Sri Lanka’s best and top foreign employment agencies to the growth of the country’s labour migration sector would be appreciated, at the ‘Excellence Awards – 2012 to be held at the Waters Edge hotel in Battaramulla, Tuesday.

The event would be jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment(SLBFE).

The ceremony to appreciate the productivity of the employment agents is organised under the guidance of Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Perera and under the directions of SLBFE chairman Amal Senadhilankara.

In 2009, the SLBFE with the help of SLSI introduced a grading system to identify and appreciate the best performing agencies. The intention of the programme was to give due recognition to agencies performing well by encouraging business in the way of rewards and appreciation.

Agencies were graded on a points based system, based on criteria ,such as, recruitment, dispute settlement, new visas, ratio between job orders and departures, payment of tax, renewal of licences, legal cases, complaints etc. with the points been upgraded annually. Accordingly, the SLBFE says that there are 303 agencies in contention for awards in 2012 out of over 800 under four categories.

According to the SLBFE, Sri Lanka is one of the most famous countries for labour supply to the global market.

Compared to the other countries in the region, Sri Lanka has the highest literacy rate and the people have gained a reputation for being very skillful, loyal and trustworthy.

Thus the SLBFE says that their role is to harness this potential and to find new vistas, specially in the skilled labour category and also the introduction of new destinations.

In this regard, the SLBFE says that the recruitment agencies contribution is much appreciated and that they as the national regulator is ever ready to help them in every way possible.

The SLBFE in recent times initiated a number of programmes with the highest state patronage to appreciate the migrant workers contribution to the national economy. One such event was the initiative to commemorate Migrant Day on December 18, with a large umber of programmes beneficial for migrant workers and their families. It is estimated that over 1.7 million Sri Lankans work outside the country and have remitted approximately US $ 4.1 Billion in 2010.

This remittance income is by far the highest foreign exchange earner for Sri Lanka, providing 33 percent of her foreign exchange which amounts to 8 percent of Sri Lanka’s GDP.

Consequently, the total workers’ remittances in 2011 exceeded an unprecedented US $ 5.0 billion. Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera says “All our efforts are towards ensuring a labour migration process that adheres to principles of good governance and rights for all men and women to engage in decent and productive employment abroad in conditions of freedom, dignity, security and equity”.

‘In the Mahinda Chinthana policy programme of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the need to promote and improve the image of Sri Lanka as a source country that provide high calibre professional and technical and skilled personnel in specialized fields, such as, nursing, nautical services, accountancy, IT, banking and engineering has been clearly envisioned”, the minister said.

‘The ministry accordingly has set its target on becoming the best provider of professional, technical and skilled manpower to the global market and foreign exchange earnings of US $ 10.0 Billion in 2015” he said.

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