Saturday, January 13, 2018

Amendments to Sri Lankan Visa Regulations for Foreigners

This week the Sri Lankan Government approved a series of amendments to the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948, which will mean favourable changes to existing visa regulations for foreign nationals and former Sri Lankan citizens.

Many of these changes relate to longer stay visas and will be welcomed as positive change by foreign nationals or expats in Sri Lanka, particularly foreign investors, employees and spouses.

One of the banes of expat life in Sri Lanka has been the regular and frequent visits to the Department of Immigration and Emigration ("DIE") to renew your visa. As time has passed, the process to apply or renew your visa in Sri Lanka has become a little smoother, a tad more efficient, and the offices of DIE have moved to a better locale. These latest changes will be a welcome relief as well as to encourage the foreign influx into the country.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

UPDATED: Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #16

We're into the home stretch now...! Can you believe it's December already? Where has the year gone? It's been one helluva year, that's for sure. I'm still reeling from the past eleven months and, as I mentioned in my last blog post on resilience, I can't help but think what else is in store for us before the year comes to a close.

It's feeling pretty festive already, though I've hardly noticed because I've had my nose to the grindstone. But it did come of leap out at me while I was at the airport a couple of nights ago. I think the Christmas trees and decorations around the arrivals area and the large crowds gave it that festive feel.

My family has been pressuring me to fly back to spend Christmas with them. Cyclone Ockhi and the tropical storm system that had battered through Sri Lanka a few days ago made them all the more adamant. But I'm kind of sitting on the fence with it because (a) this might be my last Christmas in Sri Lanka (b) if I go back I might actually have to make a decision about it because my family will probably want me to draw a line in the sand (c) I sort of want to book a holiday away with friends and press the pause button (d) part of me isn't feeling very festive at all, and (e) all this adulting is hard work (*sigh*)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Sri Lanka teaches you about resilience

I woke up this morning tired and feeling the effects of the night before. Last night was not a night for sleeping peacefully. Gale force winds, heavy torrential rain, water leaks coming from the roof, sounds of things flying off rooftops, lightning, anxiety about trees coming down, power cuts and things of that nature provided the ingredients for an unsettled night. Lucky for me this morning, my house was still in one piece and not much damage nor injury had come of last night. The same could not be said for some of my neighbours and other parts of the island. And for that my heart is heavy. 

When I reflect upon what we have been through as an island this year, I can't help but ask "is there more to come in December?".

From challenges such as floods, droughts, fuel shortages, power shortages, water shortages, landslides and garbage dump disasters, union strikes, massive corruption and scams, inflation hikes, tax regime changes and other things, we have undoubtedly faced a battering.

But even as I pose the question as to what December will bring, I also can't help but acknowledge an important and defining quality that comes with life in Sri Lanka, and that is the capacity for resilience.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

UPDATED: Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #15

We're now officially into the inter-monsoon season on the island, which means mostly clear weather in the mornings followed by thundershowers from the afternoon. It's certainly a very theatrical time of the year from a weather perspective. It's like the skies put on a show with lightning activity and surround sound of thunder and rain. If you're not used to it then it can get a little dramatic, possibly even scary. But, I've grown accustomed to all the theatrics and find it relatively entertaining.

With most of the year behind us I can't help but feel a little bereft. Time seems to be zooming by and that's probably also to do with all the activity in my life and the weight of many things happening across the island. There's still plenty to keep me busy over the next couple of months, such as a few blog posts, including part 2 of the two-part blog post on A Word of Caution on Investing in Sri Lanka.

We are supposed to be heading towards the better part of the year and a bit of a winding down into the holiday season. Peak tourist season is drawing near and the island will be busy with holiday-makers, adventurers and returning expat Sri Lankans.

I haven't quite sorted out my plans for the festive season. I'm not 100% sure whether I'm coming or going this year. Usually I'd have already decided whether to head back to spend the holidays with family or have made travel plans to meet up with friends, or decided to kick back on the island. Not too sure at this stage and probably not too bothered, though my family will probably have something to say about that. What are your plans for the festive season? Will you be staying on the island, or returning to spend it with family and friends, or venturing elsewhere?