With a low GDP, high unemployment and a rapidly rising cost of living, it’s easy to see why the majority of expatriates are looking towards Sri Lanka as a potential new home. Despite all of this, many ex-pats still hesitate over choosing Sri Lanka for their future home. What could be stopping them?
There is only one factor preventing many ex-pats from choosing Sri Lanka as their next home: the local population. Unfortunately, not all ex-pats get to move freely around the country as they would like, but rather they are restricted to certain areas, whether it is for work or leisure.
Despite this, I have found that the population of the island is highly fragmented and the problems are related to the development of local authorities. As a result, it is extremely difficult to secure jobs in certain localities without having first consulted the authorities.
If you are considering moving to Sri Lanka, the best way to approach the issue is to work with a Sri Lankan embassy to obtain a visa on arrival for your move into the country. To do this, you need to send in an application form accompanied by your passport, visa, medical certification and letters of acceptance from previous Vacancies and proof of financial stability.
The visa application should be received within a month of your arrival in Sri Lanka. You will be required to pass through a series of requirements to be approved. The authorities may require that you sign an agreement stating that your stay in Sri Lanka will be approved on any pretext, however, most countries will treat the applicant as an individual, thus avoiding any illegal movement of individuals into Sri Lanka.
While you can work at any of the dozens of employment opportunities in Sri Lanka, you will be best served by applying for jobs in areas where the cost of living is very low, such as tourism and retail management. As most jobs in these sectors are relatively short-term, you will be more likely to find work, more people and often, better salaries than in some of the more expensive localities.
Some travel agencies in the capital of Colombo are keen to entice the so-called ‘new ex-pats’ to work for them, and in return offer them multiple discounts on accommodation, flights and other services. Some take the policy a step further and offer housing and transportation facilities, including property rental at very attractive rates.
Vacancies in the public sector, such as public schools, government offices and even hospitals, are plentiful in Sri Lanka. In the absence of any competition, many companies have stopped recruiting locally and due to the shortage of labour, it is now easier to hire locals.
If you are searching for work in Sri Lanka, your best bet is to join a recruitment agency. Most of these will be situated in Colombo, Colombo Port, Basilan, or other key locations in the city, and will help you arrange interviews, accommodation and transfer to the office.
There are several recruitment agencies offering services in Colombo, but I recommend that you lookout for a company called ERF Specialists. They have years of experience and vast networks that make it easier for their clients to secure the jobs they want.
Before you choose to relocate to Sri Lanka, I suggest that you have an experienced employee researching the location for you. Your team member should be able to prepare a customized relocation package, which should include an updated overview of the local economy, the cost of living, tourist destinations and several suggestions on where to find work.