RTA recruits over 500 Lankan drivers

Preeti Kannan (Our staff reporter)
Filed on July 5, 2008

DUBAI - Sri Lankan taxi and bus drivers are the recent recruits in the UAE. For the first time, over 500 drivers have been recruited to work in Dubai with the help of the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in the emirate.

The move is part of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare's efforts to send skilled workers abroad as well as to balance their skewed migrant ratio, with female migrants outnumbering their male counterparts traditionally.

The Country Coordinator of the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment at the Sri Lankan consulate in Dubai, S.A Zain, told Khaleej Times that over 300 taxi drivers and 200 bus drivers have been recruited by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

"This is the first time that such a large number of male skilled workers have been recruited from Sri Lanka. This is in line with our efforts to move away from unskilled to skilled labour force. These drivers have been recruited after being interviewed by RTA officials," he added.

Their employment contracts are under process and they will start work as soon as the formalities are complete, Zain said, adding that the consulate was keen on bringing in more male professionals to the UAE.

Sri Lankan Consul-General Wasantha Senanayake said the government was also keen on bringing in male nurses, hospital attendants and service staff from the hospitality industry.

"We have started implementing changes to the curricula in hotel management colleges to tailor to the needs of hotels in the UAE. Now, short courses are being introduced to train them to become bartenders, guest relations officers and pool attendants," said Senanayake.

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