Sunday, January 21, 2018

Japan the new Jerusalem for Sri Lanka’s short term migrant workers

Of all places for well organized migrant labor, the Korean employment program run by the Korean Government, which both conducts Korean Language Exams and then vets the workers and matches them with prospective employers in Korea, IS currently the best program for Sri Lankan workers.

This results in both well remunerated work in certain industries and a clear period of initial employment and the possibility of a return for a further assignment of 2 to 5 years, that has resulted in remittances back to Sri Lanka of between Rs5M and Rs20M per migrant worker, during the course of their employment.

Even once exams are passed, there is a strict vetting process, with medical checks and capability, where a better educated worker is recruited. No doubt most go for the income benefits, where they leave SKILLED jobs in Sri Lanka and take up manual labor work in Korea in small family run production plants, because of the huge income discrepancies, so it is not the case where unemployed people go to Korea. Most leave jobs, and in those instances employers in Sri Lanka have to recruit lesser qualified or capable people to fill them. There is therefore a cost to Sri Lanka.

So in this era where we question the need for our women to go to the Middle East it is high time that the State becomes PROACTIVE, and has discussions Government to Government with Japan on a pathway for one distinct class of worker required by the Japanese State, due to the rapidly aging and diminishing population there.

The obvious area where there is going to be a severe shortage is in the area of Geriatric Health Care workers, male and female to assist this aging population. Japan, a very organized and disciplined nation, is acutely aware of the need, and is considering all options, but it is the solution to both their needs and our wants that is staring in the face, with no one taking the initiative to MATCH the two.

I therefore recommend the initiative to train and fill up to 5,000 vacancies a year, to start with, by first setting up an institution to supply this need with the collaboration and possibly financed by the Japanese Government, a one year course, where those who qualify are then sent to Japan for a 5 year period, for employment where they can earn an income in the region of Rs400,000 a month there.

We must train unskilled people, usually young, and not take people out of existing productive jobs which is one of the downsides of the Korean Employment Program.

It is important that there is an investment on the part of the person concerned in this one year course, as otherwise there will be no commitment to go once the course is completed if it is FREE, and some form of bond is signed to ensure that both parties to the contract benefit.

This way we can reduce the need for unskilled people leaving for Middle East employment which is gradually declining, and replacing with specialized workers who can be sent to one of the most desirable countries that people currently clamor to go and then disappear into the country, undocumented.

Unfortunately the only issue for the Japanese Government is that these workers if the history of migrant workers is anything to go by, don’t want to return, finding some means to disappear into the woodwork!

If there is a way to bind them, similar to the Korean Model, then there will be some assurance of their return once the assignment is completed. This project could fulfill both Countries' needs and provide another economic pathway to young people, who upon their return could be assured of employment in the health care field, which is a fast growing one in Sri Lanka, or at least economic independence where they have the capital to get a start in life, in business, or a regular income, to supplement their lower income in employment upon arrival.

We can look into the examples of Korean Job returnees to Sri Lanka, to ascertain how successful they have been in setting up their own businesses and improving their family economic bases upon their return.

Frankly, this project is a no brainer, and at least has some assurance of returnees having the ability to benefit the Country. Contrast this with the new Nursing School that is under development, where we are about to train Nursing Graduates, and sign them up for a minimum of 5 years in the local health sector as a BOND. We will train them at a very high cost to the Government, but within a few years, they will be snapped up in the Western Countries like the USA, which is crying out for trained and qualified nurses, where they will emigrate with their families, and be of little use to the Sri Lankan Economy, in short an investment with no return, a total LOSS, unless the cost of their full education is borne by those nurses.

In conclusion, WE MUST understand that many countries including ours are facing huge skills shortages and related crises, but we will be the loser, to higher paying countries and don’t want to be the training ground for other Countries’ needs, where half our doctors still emigrate, wasting our valuable state resources in Free Education for them. 

Let us use our most valuable resource, "Human Resource", Wisely!


Anonymous said...

Far better idea of getting the Japanese Government to fund this training program and even the institution as they will benefit from a well trained labor force, who can easily learn Japanese before they leave for Japan.

It is a BIG waste of money opening more Medical Faculties to fill the craving of our foolish kids, as they just leave within a few years of Qualifying never to return to the motherland. What a waste of money giving free education to doctors? We must charge for their education and if they work in the State Hospitals we should use that money saved to pay them better, if they remain.

As for the foolish expense of building a Nursing School attached to Jayawardenapura University it is another waste of money. Get the Americans to pay for it and then train the nurses to go to America if they want, but not Sri Lankan poor people pay for it so USA benefits.

We must understand a few economic facts of life. A qualified nurse who can earn US$80,000 a year in the US will not stay in Sri Lanka earning Rs 50,000 a month, period

So this Japanese program is a great idea, a win win for all, and gives further opportunities to school leavers, male and female. The problem is they go to Japan and get married and settle down then summa to Sri Lanka, but it has not happened in Korea so it may not happen, I don't know

Anonymous said...

Aiyo Sirisena Thamai ithin

True to form we will not act on this suggestion, as every minister will think it the other one's responsibility to do so. No one wants to take ownership of a project to benefit Sri Lanka, only to benefit themselves. As this does not benefit any individual minister there will be no interest.

So who do you think will read this blog and get cracking, and what is the bet! Yes, Duterte of the Philippines will be on the next plane to Tokyo to do a deal with Abe and promise to send 100,000 Filipinos to do the jobs you suggest as it is both close to them, and their workers have a better bedside manner than ours, who are too snooty and uppity for such work even if well paid.

Japan favors Sri Lanka but we are too lazy to get off our backsides and do something to help our Countrymen, we just like to make speeches, light oil lamps and pay homage to a warped clergy and do nothing else.

If I am wrong, check the diary tomorrow of each of the 100 ministers. No one will be at work doing their job.

Anonymous said...

Every project that involves an Investment by the state (OUR MONEY) of more than Rs10M must be sent to a think tank for evaluation, so a public cost benefit analysis can be made, and disclosed on line for people to comment on.

If we are disciplined about this and one team does the evaluation based on similar principles, we will be able to pick the howlers from the productive ones, and will prevent the waste of about Rs500 Billion a year. It is this team who have the task to make the case either way from the information submitted.

Then no joker in Parliament can get what he wants to pad his own backside, but have a national interest as the key in all approvals, no matter what asinine comments are made on the stage. If you analyse the statements made by all political parties in this election campaign, they are laughable, impractical, and lies to gain votes, none of which have any merit, and still they say it to the masses to fool them and still they are fooled. What gives!

Anonymous said...

A great idea, but one which will go nowhere as we have rulers who are scraping the bottom of the barrel, so can't even understand it, let alone get cracking

Anonymous said...

Check this blog entry for the other side of the story to make sense of it all and put it in context

Anonymous said...

After sucking up so much to the Americans, what have we got?

Get them to pay for the Nursing School and all the infrastructure for starters and get them to send the teaching staff too!

After all we have given over US$ One Billion in aid by sending 4,000 Sri Lankan qualified doctors to the USA over the past 50 years. It is time they gave something back.

Why are our leaders so stupid not to understand how foolish we are helping others because of our Free Education System. It a god send to the host countries of all our emigrants.

Have free education ONLY up to secondary level, but make it much higher quality, producing practical people not book worms who are good at memorizing. After that let them pay, only then will they understand the value of education, and work diligently to excel instead of parading their ignorance for all to see

Dulanga said...

Agreed actually thers a Japan’s severe labor shortage is at levels last seen about a quarter-century ago, states a government white paper presented to the Cabinet on Friday which also highlights the country’s need to resolve the issue in order to achieve sustainable economic growth.

The economy looks to be in its third-longest expansion phase on record, but consumption remains weak because wage growth is tepid despite tight labor market conditions, according to the paper on the economy and finances for fiscal 2017.

As productivity in Japan still remains lower than in other major developed economies, the government may consider promoting labor reform — cutting long work hours and eliminating unjustifiable discrimination between regular and nonregular workers. It may also push for advanced technology such as artificial intelligence.

“It’s one of the major limitations that the Japanese economy needs to overcome to realize sustainable growth,” the white paper says, referring to the country’s labor shortage. “At the same time, it could also create a big opportunity to boost productivity and break with deflation.”

Since taking office in late 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been seeking to pull the Japanese economy out of chronic deflation using his “Abenomics” policy mix that includes bold monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

But four years later beating deflation remains an unattainable goal, with the BOJ having pushed back the timing for hitting its 2 percent inflation target for the sixth time.

The paper, presented to the Cabinet on Friday, acknowledges that more women and elderly people — who tend to prefer working relatively short hours — have joined the workforce. Overall labor remains in short supply, however.

The unemployment rate fell below the 3 percent mark in February for the first time since 1994, while job availability has been at the best level in over four decades as companies hunt for workers.

However, such improvements have yet to translate into strong wage growth for workers, prompting the government to describe the situation as a “new phenomenon.” The white paper stated that companies, mindful of future economic and other risks, appear to be dragging their feet.

Tepid income growth has been blamed for sluggish private consumption, which accounts for close to 60 percent of the economy.

In analyzing consumer trends, the white paper refers to a growing number of “minimalists” — those who hope to keep their material possessions to a minimum — among young people, and increased social security payments by people in their 40s and 50s.

The government recognizes the need to boost confidence, especially among young people, in the outlook for employment and income conditions.

The release of the annual report comes as Abe, who has been calling on companies to increase pay for workers, is focusing on labor reform and is understood to view stepped-up investment in human resource development as a key to energize the economy.

“Labor reform should primarily contribute to improving work-life balance but it would also have a major economic impact,” the report said.

On capital spending, another critical component of the economy, the white paper predicts increased demand for investment in labor-saving, and to brace for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.if goverment can do a proper programme indeedly it will be successful diplomatic mission not only that it will be good for economy as well and as a japanese school owner we can cotribute and can give us a fully supporte to goverment.So really respect for your thiughts which politician doesn't have.