Sri Lankans’ Worth in the Gulf: A Report
Sachini Perera, a pole vaulting record holder in Sri Lanka, recently told some news sources in a talk, that hers is just one story. This is one of the more heartbreaking realities of Sri Lanka, a year after it made its first debt default. There are numerous tales of people in need in Sri Lanka.
In Dubai, Ms. Perera works as a housekeeper. She is correct that she is just one of many; in the past year, about 311,000 of Sri Lanka’s 22 million citizens left their homes in search of better-paying jobs and an escape from the nation’s economic crisis. Many people who have emigrated have gone to the Gulf in search of employment so they can support their families.
They are not all children. Sri Lankans in their 40s and 50s have also entered the workforce in the GCC, primarily in the low- and semi-skilled categories. Numerous skilled workers have also left, including engineers and doctors. The Sri Lankan government encourages citizens to take up jobs abroad because the money that expatriates send home helps the nation recover from its economic crisis.
Sri Lanka’s human capital is one of its greatest assets. With a reported literacy rate of 92.38 percent in 2020, which is higher than many other low- and middle-income countries, the majority of its citizens have completed primary-level education. Despite the economic difficulties that were made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is encouraging for the future of the nation.
After Gotabaya Rajapaksa was ousted from office by unrest and protests a year ago, Ranil Wickremesinghe became president of Sri Lanka. The past few years have been difficult for Sri Lankans due to high inflation—50.6% in February—and stagnant wages at home.
The health and information technology sectors have arguably been most affected by the economic crisis. Professionals in these fields have been leaving the country in droves, understandably in search of greener pastures, but doing so has also left a void that will ultimately cost the most to those who choose to remain in the country. There, residents have free access to healthcare and education, but when a large portion of the medical workforce leaves, the situation becomes extremely unstable.
Even though Sri Lanka still has a ways to go, recovery is most visible in industries like tourism as leisure travelers start to visit the island country again. This year, the nation is anticipated to bring in $2.7 billion in revenue.
Importantly, the nation also received a $3 billion bailout package from the IMF in March. Despite being a lifeline, the bailout had stringent requirements that included raising taxes and cutting back on government spending and welfare programs.
Therefore, as the government works to restructure its debt, much-needed reforms will unavoidably make life challenging for typical Sri Lankans in the short term.
The government has been working hard to bring in foreign investment, most recently from France, Japan, and India. However, for the time being, the story of Sri Lanka’s gradual but steady economic recovery is ingrained in the lives of its common citizens, regardless of whether they live and work there or elsewhere, and regardless of their age and stage in life.
The loss of Sri Lanka’s human resources has benefited other nations, particularly those in the Gulf. But as Sachini Perera and thousands of other Sri Lankans send money back to family members who have left their country, they should be commended for not only rebuilding their own lives but also for reshaping the future of their country.
Sri Lanka is facing an economic crisis, and many people have left the country in search of better-paying jobs. The economic crisis has also led to a brain drain, as many skilled workers have left the country. This has had a negative impact on the health and information technology sectors, as well as other industries.
The Sri Lankan government has been working to attract foreign investment. Despite the challenges, Sri Lankans who have left the country are sending money back to their families. This is helping to support the economy and rebuild lives.
The loss of Sri Lanka’s human resources has benefited other nations, particularly those in the Gulf. However, the Sri Lankan people should be commended for their resilience and determination. They are rebuilding their own lives and reshaping the future of their country.