As Sri Lanka scrambles to get back on track following the election of a new President, the people in the country – who are facing severe economic hardship – are still uncertain about the future.
Amid this uncertainty, Sri Lankans from across the country are lining up at the passport office in Colombo to get a new passport or get their old one renewed, desperate for a way out of the crisis-marred country.
“There is no food, no fuel and no money in the country. What will we do and how we will survive? I’m here to get my passport and go to Qatar for a job. People are here for this only,” a person waiting in the queue told ANI.
Another person who was there to renew his passport said: “I came here for my passport renewal so I can seek a job abroad. I have family and I do not have a source of earning here in my country.”
According to the Sri Lanka administration, 27,900 people went outside in search of jobs in the month of June this year.
“27,937 people went abroad for jobs in June this year alone, while the majority of 18,083 went abroad on their own,” the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Promotion (SLBFEP) said.
The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau said that 9,854 people have gone abroad for jobs through the licensed foreign employment agency. It goes on to detail how more than 1.5 lakh people have left the country since January this year.
“The total amount of 1,56,179 who have gone abroad for jobs from January to the first week of July this year. 100,767 self-route and 55,411 people have also gone abroad through the licensed foreign employment agencies,” the bureau said.
It further added that most Sri Lankans prefer to go to Gulf countries. Others move to countries like South Korea and Japan.
“Kuwait has the highest number of people who have gone abroad for jobs since January, that amount is 39,216. 36229 for Qatar, 26,098 for Saudi Arabia, 3,219 for South Korea, 2,576 for Japan have departed for jobs,” the foreign employment bureau said.
Since January this year, “46,992 for professional jobs and 49,923 people have gone abroad for jobs, while 38,871 have gone abroad for domestic jobs, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Promotion further announces Will do the loan,” SLBFEP data read.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is in the grip of unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in its history, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essential items in the county.