Sri Lankan government to fast track visas for migrant tech professionals while working to develop local talent
The government of Sri Lanka is reportedly looking at fast-tracking visas for migrant tech professionals due to an existing talent crunch and also changing the country’s higher-education laws to develop local talent and attract foreign universities to set up campuses in the island.
“In order to stimulate and enable sustainable growth in the IT-BPM industry, a number of regulatory amendments need to be implemented,” the government’s National Export Strategy 2018-2022: Information Technology Strategy policy document published in 2018 has noted.
According to reports, among the key regulatory reforms is the need to fast-track the current approval process for tech companies to hire foreign professionals, “by introducing necessary procedural reforms for visas at the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
“Initiate a programme similar to the French Tech Visa, a simplified, fast-track procedure for three types of international start-up founders, employees and investors,” the policy document has noted.
Sri Lanka’s trade agreements with India and Singapore will ease some restrictions of professional migrants from those countries tied to investments here. Ironically, a vocal protectionist body within the tech industry is opposing these and any relaxation of migrant restrictions.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s tech industry is expected to generate US$ 5 billion in exports by 2020, up from US$ 1.2 billion in 2017, employing 200,000 people (up from 80,000 in 2017) and launching 1,000 start-ups.
Sri Lanka’s IT sector is a fast growing field with expanding investment opportunities. The IT industry is expected to generate US$ 5 billion in exports by 2020, which is an increase from US$ 1.2 billion in 2017. Local IT industry experts are also engaged in several programmes to develop the country’s IT education to fit the requirements of the sector. Therefore, foreign companies engaged in the IT business could explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka’s IT sector.
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