Proposals to Govern the IT Professional environment in Sri Lanka in the Context of Bi-Lateral Agreements
Posted on August 31st, 2016

PRESS RELEASE Issued by Computer Society of Sri Lanka

The Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL), which was established in 1976 in Sri Lanka represents Information Communications Technology (ICT) Professionals in Sri Lanka. It promotes Information and Communication Technology and professionalism among those engaged in the field of Information and Communication Technology, and maintains the highest professional standards among the Information and Communication Technology fraternity.

The Bi-Lateral Agreements that government is planning on to sign with many countries including India, has been a discussion point for everyone involved in this industry. CSSL as the professional association in this sector has taken a keen interest on this. We have conducted forums, discussions and studies on this matter and is in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders.

After industry as well as CSSL member consultation, we have prepared following as our high level proposals or Regulatory Changes to Govern the ICT Professional environment in Sri Lanka in the Context of Bi-Lateral Agreements.

We expect the government to take these proposals seriously and will offer CSSL support in getting the necessary changes implemented, for the benefit of our industry and the country at large.

  1. Foreign nationals who come to Sri Lanka to work in the IT industry needs to be checked for their qualifications and experience. Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL) is the body that does that at the moment. We urge the government to enact the Incorporation of CSSL under an act of parliament before ETCA is signed so that any foreign national coming to Sri Lanka is checked professionally in terms of skills, certifications, and qualifications.
  1. The foreign national will have to get CSSL membership, which will be one document required to issue a visa. When giving CSSL membership, we will verify the quality of the qualification, and the working experience. CSSL already does that for its membership.
  1. To issue a working visa for a foreign national, he needs to have an offer letter from a company incorporated in Sri Lanka. The visa must be connected to that company (based on offer letter) and in the event the person leaves that company, the person must not be allowed to remain in Sri Lanka thereafter, and has to go back to the person’s own country.
  1. A working visa has to always be bound to a company incorporated in Sri Lanka. i.e. the visa should be company specific.
  1. Before foreign nationals are recruited, a company must have tried that recruitment locally. Together with the offer letter, evidence has to be submitted to Immigration and Emigration department such as local Job advertisements and details/contacts of interviewees/process. This has to be legally enacted. We would not object to bringing in foreign experts, if that skill or knowledge were not available in Sri Lanka. Checking skills of persons in the IT industry is a capability that CSSL has with the SFIA framework (Skills for the Information Age). Checking if the skills in demand is not found locally and whether the person who is coming from overseas has that skill is an important cross validation.
  1. Sri Lankan employee percentage in any company should be maintained at high levels and to achieve this a minimum level of Sri Lankan employment in any company has to be defined and regulated. We welcome the creation of new companies with foreign investment. However, we stress that locals should also directly benefit in terms of new employment opportunities
  1. The salary paid to an foreign national has to be declared to the Inland Revenue Department for which PAYEE tax must be paid, and also declared to CSSL’s accreditation body (appointed under Point 1 above), so that salary standards are maintained in Sri Lanka. For this purpose, CSSL will run an annual salary survey. Where a trend of decreasing salary levels in identified, CSSL will work with the relevant company to rectify the situation.
  1. There should be a penalty introduced if a company declares a higher salary in the offer letter but pays lower salary in reality. Inland Revenue Department should be empowered to regulate this.
  1. Manpower companies from foreign countries should not be allowed to enter into Sri Lanka through ETCA, or BOI processes. This is proposed with the hope of preventing misuse and abuse of the ETCA.
  1. Visa validity period should be pre-defined to a reasonable duration, extendable with valid reasons for another pre-defined period.
  1. After completing the pre-defined duration and extended pre-defined period of working in Sri Lanka, the foreign national has to have a break of a certain period before another working visa is offered in Sri Lanka. This break period also should be regulated with laws.
  1. Tourists visa holders should not be allowed to work in Sri Lanka. Immigration department will have to ensure compliance.
  1. A foreign company that comes to Sri Lanka under ETCA, should have a certain number of employees in their payroll in their own country. This is to avoid freelancers coming in high numbers to Sri Lanka, and killing the local freelance / startup economy.
  1. Dependent visas must be offered to immediate family only, and working must be prohibited for them. They are most welcome to join their immediate family here, but should not be abusing the visa.  It is however possible that family may also find employment in accordance with ETCA
  1. Companies that setup Research and Development (R&D) units in Sri Lanka should be supported with special tax benefits to attract them.

The Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL) urges the government to take these proposal positively and work with relevant government agencies to initiate regulatory changes as well as take these points for consideration during bi-lateral agreement discussions.

3 Responses to “Proposals to Govern the IT Professional environment in Sri Lanka in the Context of Bi-Lateral Agreements”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    India has over 400 million poor people and over 40 million people in India are unemployed. If this ETCA is signed and the Hanuman bridge is built all these desperate people in India will come in droves to Sri Lanka since the socio-economic situation of Sri Lanka is a million times better than the socio economic situation of India. I would urge the uncaring and cruel Indian government to provide basic housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, education, food and clothing to these desperately poor 400 million Indians rather than spending US 5.2 billion dollars in building a Hanuman bridge to Sri Lanka. If Sri Lanka signs this ETCA with India it will be Sri Lanka’s end. Sri Lanka should not sign any such trade deals where people can come here to work freely, unless the country we are signing the ETCA with has a similar or a better socio-economic situation than Sri Lanka. I would urge the uncaring, corrupt and cruel India Government to immediately stop building space stations and nuclear weapons and use that money to provide basic housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, education, food and clothing to the 400 million desperately poor people of India which is a government’s basic responsibility. Sri Lanka should stop immediately the signing of ETCA with India and urge the Indian Government to carry out the above task rather than serving the rich people of India only which the uncaring and cruel Indian Government seems to be doing.

  2. aloy Says:

    Do not encourage signing of any ECTA with India. You may be doing it for your own personal gain from the ruling politicians. Any good Indian IT person will not come to SL; they will only aim US or the west. Once they enter sending back will not be possible even if the rules are laid in the constitution..
    India acted as our enemy throughout history. The latest being the attempt to take over Sinhale (or Ratnadipa) via Praba (who’s father originated from Kerala, which actually means land of coconut). They will try various means of achieving their goal. This is the latest, to do it bit by bit displacing the Sinhalas. Do not allow RW to have his way and destroy SL.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    What a great calamity that is about to befall the nation!

    India will not agree to any of these. As a result Sri Lankan government will also reject these proposals.

    ETCA will be a dumping mechanism. Poisonous, low quality and dangerous junk will be dumped in Sri Lanka and unemployed crooks calling themselves professionals will find their way to the island.

    JO is not opposing it enough knowing well that ETCA will be the end of the UNP regime and that it will be unable to come back to power for a very long time. 1970-77 SLFP was defeated in 1977 and kept out of power for 17 years thanks to its disastrous economic policies. UNP regime is doing far worse.

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