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Sri Lanka opens High Commission in New Zealand | Thulitha Abayawardana | Auckland

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ශ්‍රී LankaNZ is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population of over 18,000 all over New Zealand. The demand for entertainment in literacy media itself gave birth to ශ්‍රී LankaNZ

For decades Sri Lanka and New Zealand have been maintaining close relations with each other. Being members of the Commonwealth and Colombo Plan, being some of the first nations to adopt democratic practices, and maintaining trade associations, both countries share so many common values. To further extend this friendship, a limitation both countries faced was the absence of High Commissions. Consequently, with New Zealand inaugurating its High Commission in Sri Lanka in 2021, the Sri Lankan government has now decided it’s their turn. With the growing population of the Sri Lankan diaspora in New Zealand, this has become a necessity.

To discuss further about this matter, SriLankaNZ correspondent Mr. Sisira Wickramarachchi had the privilege to interview the Sri Lankan foreign minister, Hon. Ali Sabri himself. Minister Ali Sabri explained further on the diplomatic mission’s plan for the future.

Based on the questions asked about New Zealand’s increasing demand for Sri Lanka’s agricultural exports, the minister suggests that this matter is to be taken into account with the collaboration of the Export Development Board and the Department of Commerce.

At the moment Sri Lankan government is not associating with New Zealand to grant special work visas for its citizens as they do with Japan and South Korea. But there’s room for such initiative in the future as Mr. Sabri suggests. He thinks that liaising with the Ministry of Foreign Employment to understand the specific requirements and training needs will be a way forward, especially in areas such as tradesman jobs.

Minister Sabri said that he is delighted to hear that New Zealand’s ministers he met speak highly of Sri Lankan expatriates. His message to the diaspora is, just as the High Commission is established for the diaspora’s needs, the diaspora should also support the High Commission to promote industries like tourism and educate New Zealand’s general public on the positive aspects of the country.

For the full interview on SriLankaNZ youtube channel, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD6yf6WGTmQ


By Thulitha Abayawardana – Auckland

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