RIYADH: Sri Lanka is in the process of increasing the share of skilled and professional workers among its citizens seeking employment in Saudi Arabia, new Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, who arrived here last week, told Arab News on Tuesday.
Sri Lankan professionals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants and ICT experts have found lucrative positions in the far east, western countries and some Gulf states including the UAE and Qatar, he pointed out.
He said Sri Lankan leaders appreciate the support provided by the Saudi government to its economic development and migrant workers.
“We have a high literacy rate and therefore the youth are in position to learn employment skills and easily adapt themselves to the work environment,” he said.
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment headed by Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Atukorale is dedicated to serve the island’s overseas workers who bring in large sums of foreign exchange to the national coffers.
Thassim succeeds former envoy Mohamed Hussein Mohamed who left the Kingdom in August on completion of his diplomatic tenure.
The envoy, accompanied by his wife, Sithi Dane Arfa, arrived at the VIP lounge of King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh where he was accorded a red-carpet welcome by well wishers and his embassy staff.
Officials from the Foreign Ministry were also present at the reception held at the lounge following his arrival.
Thassim said he intends to boost Lankan tourism. “We see a remarkable increase in Arab tourists coming to the island, particularly from Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that Sri Lanka is an island that could offer the best to Saudi tourists for family holiday, children’s entertainment and for honeymooning.
“There are several areas where Saudi businessmen could invest in viable sectors,” he said, adding that these new sectors will be unfolded to Saudi entrepreneurs during his tenure in office.