What is the change? Sri Lanka is implementing a work permit process for companies that enter agreements with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.

What does the change mean? Private companies and state institutions may now apply for work permits through the Board of Investments, allowing them to bring in foreign professionals, technical experts, and skilled labor for short periods.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Short-term work permits for foreign nationals.
  • Who is affected: Private companies and state institutions seeking to hire skilled foreign workers.
  • Impact on processing times: None.
  • Business impact: The availability of work permits should benefit companies requiring skilled foreign workers.
  • Next steps: The Sri Lanka Board of Investment is accepting applications from eligible employers.

Background: Over the last decade, Sri Lanka’s economy has increased its per capita GDP and achieved a ranking as a “middle income emerging market” by the International Monetary Fund. The work permit process is aimed at attracting foreign skills that are unavailable in the domestic labor force.

Only companies that have entered into an agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka will be eligible to apply. Companies must apply to the BOI for approval of specialized foreign workers. If the request is approved, the Immigration and Emigration Department will then issue a visa for a limited period.

BAL Analysis: The BOI process is a positive sign for employers. Note that the Sri Lankan government is likely to be more conducive to assisting companies in obtaining visas for foreign applicants who possess skills and expertise that are not available in the domestic workforce.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Sri Lanka. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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