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Making Sri Lanka my home....

Hi Everyone

Good to be here! I am new to the forum so hello to all and thank you in advance to everyone who will help me in my mission to make Sri Lanka my new home!

I am in the initial planning stages of a new holistic health business in Colombo. It is all very exciting and I cannot wait to be back in beautiful Sri Lanka but I have some very important paperwork to get in place before I do that - and garner some financial support too!! So no small mission..

So what do I need to know?? Ohhh, where to begin ;) (I have already started my research but I want to get more advice from people who have been there, done that etc!!)

If anyone has any advice about starting wellness businesses in Sri Lanka - leasing land/buying land - esp difficult with the land rights issues from displacement; gaining right paperwork and visas to work and invest in SL (I will be working, a colleague will be investing (under $250k BOI limit); networking opportunities for financial backers - actually any advice would be hugely appreciated!!

If I was to study at a Uni (there is a p/t course I would like to do at Colombo Uni) would I be able to work on a student visa and start a new business when on a student visa? Or is it best to get the work visa and then apply for course when out there and get right paperwork out in SL?

Thanks everyone - and I am very jealous of those of you who are already enjoying the life out there!!

Caroline

Dear Caroline,

If you have a friend to invest in the business, I would suggest you to go for business visa instead of the student visa.

Its true that BOI is asking for 250K in US$ but the final lump sum would be calculated on case by case basis. Sometimes you might be able to get the BOI certificate for even lesser amount.

Don't be hurry to buy a property. You can easily get a business friendly apartment below 1000 US$ a month. You have to wait for a while to get an understanding about the country, its people and finalize a location.

As a foreigner, it would be very easy for you to find probable investors/partners upon your arrival.

All you need is a business entity and some kind of a physical presence here.

If you need more information, please PM me with the specific questions.

I was in to small business consultancy and would like to help anyone willing to setup business ventures in SL.

Cheers!
Zee Jay

Hi Zee,

Informative piece of texts.. Thank you ..

Caroline,

I also like to add, Sri Lankan government allows certain types of 100% foreign investments without having to go through BOI, at a lesser cost.

However, obtaining work visas has some issues under this type of approach.. I am guessing ur " new holistic health business in Colombo " maybe going under one to one service sector.. Which is as per my knowledge, not allowed to operate 100% foreign.

Some of the business not allowed fall under;

1) Tourism sector
2) Retail business
3) One to one service 

Above information was obtained from a BOI consultant in BOI and later affirmed through a lawyer

Thank you

Adheel

1. PER MISSION is hereby granted for the purposes of Section 10, 11, 15 and sub-section 5 of Section 30 as applicable of the Exchange Control Act (Chapter 423 of the CLE), for the issue and transfer of shares in a company upto 100% of the issued capital of such company, to approved country funds, approved regional funds, corporate bodies incorporated outside Sri Lanka and individuals resident outside Sri Lanka (inclusive of Sri Lankans resident outside Sri Lanka) subject to the exclusions, limitations and conditions hereinafter set out.
2. Exclusions:- The permission hereby granted shall not apply in respect of shares of a company proposing to carry on or carrying on any of the following businesses:
(i) Money lending,
(ii) Pawn broking,
(iii) R etail trade with a capital of less than One Million US Dollars,
(iv) Providing personal services other than for the export or tourism sectors,
(v) Coastal fishing.
3. Limitations:-
(a) T he permission hereby granted shall apply in respect of shares in a company carrying on or proposing to carry on any of the following businesses only upto 40% of the issued capital of such company, or if approval has been granted by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka for a higher percentage of foreign investment in any company, only upto such higher percentage.
(i) Production of goods where Sri Lanka’s exports are subject to internationally determined quota restrictions;
(ii) Growing and primary processing of tea, rubber, coconut, cocoa, rice, sugar and spices;
(iii) Mining and primary processing of non renewable national resources;
(iv) T imber based industries using local timber;
(v) Fishing (deep sea fishing);
(vi) Mass communications;
(vii) E ducation;
(viii) Freight forwarding:
(ix) T ravel agencies;
(x) S hipping agencies.
(b) The permission hereby granted shall apply in respect of the shares of a company carrying on or proposing to carry on any of the businesses set out below only upto the percentage of the issued capital of the company for which percentage either general or special approval has been granted by the Government of Sri Lanka or any legal or administrative authority set up for the approval of foreign investment in such businesses.
(i) Air transportation;
(ii) C oastal shipping;
(iii) I ndustrial undertaking in the Second Schedule of the Industrial Promotion Act, No. 46 of 1990,
namely –
any industry manufacturing arms, ammunitions, explosives, military vehicles and equipment aircraft and other military hardware;
any industry manufacturing poisons, narcotics, alcohols, dangerous drugs and toxic, hazardous or carcinogenic materials;
any industry producing currency, coins or security documents;
(iv) Large scale mechanized mining of gems;
(v) Lotteries.
4. Conditions:-
(a) A person resident outside Sri Lanka who is a party to a transaction permitted hereunder shall make a declaration to the effect that such person is resident outside Sri Lanka on the share transfer form or share application form as applicable.
(b) T he payment for shares in any issue or transaction permitted hereunder shall be made only out of or into a Share Investment External Rupee Account opened in a commercial bank of Sri Lanka in accordance with directions given by the Controller of Exchange in that behalf to commercial banks.
(c) A commercial bank, a licensed share broker or any other person entrusted with the payment of capital monies such as sale proceeds of shares, dividends and commissions in respect of any transaction permitted hereunder shall make such payment only into or out of a Share Investment External Rupee Account referred to in sub-paragraph (b) above.
(d) T he Secretary/Registrar to a company in which the issue or transfer of shares to persons resident outside Sri Lanka are limited under paragraph 3 shall not register the name of any person resident outside Sri Lanka or a citizen of a foreign State or their nominee as a share holder in such company if by such registration the limits specified in paragraph 3 shall be exceeded.
5. Permission is also hereby granted –
(a) under Section 11 of the Exchange Control Act for the transfer by approved country funds, approved regional funds, corporate bodies incorporated outside Sri Lanka and individuals resident outside Sri Lanka (inclusive of Sri Lankans resident outside Sri Lanka) of shares acquired in terms of paragraph 1 subject to the conditions stipulated in paragraphs 4(a), 4(b) and 4(c);
(b) under Section 7 of the Exchange Control Act for making any payment to or for the credit of a person resident outside Sri Lanka in respect of a transaction permitted hereunder in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4(c).
6. General – Nothing contained in this Order shall be construed as affecting or having a bearing on – (a) enterprises as defined in the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Law, No. 4 of 1978 in respect of which exemptions have been granted from the Exchange Control Act, to the extent of such exemption;
(b) the provisions of any other written law.
7. Interpretation – For purposes of this Order –
(i) “issued capital” shall have the same meaning as in the Companies Act, No. 17 of 1982;
(ii) “persons resident outside Sri Lanka” shall have the same meaning as in Order published under the
Exchange Control Act in Gazette No. 15007 dated 21.04.1972.
8. T he notices published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 721/4 of 29.06.1992 and Gazette No. 1122/12 of 07.03.2000 granting permission for purposes of Sections 7, 10, 11, 15 and sub-section 5 of Section 30 of the Exchange Control Act are hereby rescinded.

Hi Adheel and Zee

Thank you for your advice so far - very helpful. The business is not going to be solely run by me - I have a local SL business partner who is interested in being involved too. I am aware of the 100% foreign ownership restrictions and thankfully this should not be a concern.

I have read about the Resident Guest Visa - any thoughts?

Caroline

Hi Caroline,

If there is a Sri Lankan partner, you can easily get the resident guest visa.

In your case, you can go for 100% foreign ownership.

Look at the above text for what is excluded from the 100% ownership.

Thanks,
Zee Jay

Hi Zee Jay

Thank you for that advice. When it comes to reading anything legal/contractual it is like I get a brain block...Why can't they speak in normal sentences!!

C

Caroline,

In Sri Lanka, every legal document comes in *GREEK* :D :D
I built couple of businesses for others and ever ever went after the lawyers...
Reason: Their advice found to be vague, even for a single advice they charge heck of a lot of money, they knows nothing but pretends, what they does is listening to us and steal our suggestions and execute them and presenting you an invoice...

Your service doesn't comes under;

(i) Money lending,
(ii) Pawn broking,
(iii) Retail trade with a capital of less than One Million US Dollars,
(iv) Providing personal services other than for the export or tourism sectors,
(v) Coastal fishing.

Therefore it is not restricted.

It is not coming under these categories either.

(i) Production of goods where Sri Lanka’s exports are subject to internationally determined quota restrictions;
(ii) Growing and primary processing of tea, rubber, coconut, cocoa, rice, sugar and spices;
(iii) Mining and primary processing of non renewable national resources;
(iv) Timber based industries using local timber;
(v) Fishing (deep sea fishing);
(vi) Mass communications;
(vii) Education;
(viii) Freight forwarding:
(ix) Travel agencies;
(x) Shipping agencies.

If you can link your services with the Tourism sector, you have a pretty good chance to get all the necessary approvals done.

Ask your local partner to talk to any of the city hotels and check the availability of decent business premise so that you can operate within a hotel premise.

This will be a plus point.

Cheers!
Zee Jay

Hi Zee Jay

Thank you for your clarification on this! Perhaps I could email you and ask you some other questions I have?

PS Are you enjoying the cricket today?!! I am missing one of the biggest events in Colombo...!

Many thanks
Caroline

hi
i could give you some advice for this, may be you know about presently you cannot get land or a building for your own, do not let the present low, for this there are some options to do. its better if you could contact me
thanks
:)

Zee ,,

Thanks for the detailed info.. It helps a lot..

About the Resident Visa, it is and should be easy to obtain if any business is registered. I suggest to go for a business resident visa.

Zee,

do you have any info about how much they charge for business visas ?

Caroline, My advice.. go for a wholly owned foreign company.. Employ some local staff for getting it rolled. Do some research on sri Lankan culture. Not to offend, Particularly on bribery and corruption. If you're into long term, i again suggest you, do not involve locals in partnership. I may be able to assist you in marketing related stuff. & For Free.. :P I am currently completing my MSc in Strategic Marketing.   

Thanks

Adheel

Adheel,

In Caroline's case "wholly owned foreign company" won't work.
Do you know the legal complexities behind "wholly owned foreign company".

It is okay for a call center, BPO, IT/IS operation but not for someone willing to perform transactions in SL.

Even for a call center, BPO, IT/IS operation I do not suggest the so called "wholly owned foreign company".

It needs you to bring in 70K in US$ every year.

In India you can get the resident visa lot more cheaper than in SL.

I am not talking about the visa fee but the eligibility criterion.

Fees doesn't matter but the eligibility criterion does require tons of money.

Zee

Hi Zee

Thanks for the info again

It helps a lot..

Thank you

Adeel

Hey caro,

people may say many many things. but there should be a solution for everything. i'm sure you can start what you want to do here.
just write your all questions one by one and mail me. i'll find any information you need and will get back to you.

c ya..

hi  i am waiting  investment for partner for build a villa in my water front land in ambalangoda ,87km form colombo,250 m form beach ,if you like to join with me  contract me ,
,i expect us$ 125000 for investment

(Moderated)

Dear Caroline

Welcome to SL, as you have an idea to come and do business, but you said that your friend will be investing on the business.Please keep in touch, can work out a suitable solution to you. also reach me on ****

Thanks,
Nishan.

hey
consulter le DV lottery ecrire dans google.

Hi ACHOUR karim,

Can you please keep it in English on the Anglophone Forum so as all the members can understand your message :)

Thank you

Maximilien
Expat-blog Team

Dear Zee and Adheel

Between you both you are a veritable mine of very useful information. Thank you both.

I have had a house in Negombo, in my own name, for fifteen years. I visited every year twice a year for holidays. You may gather that I love Sri Lanka and her people.

In November 2012 I came to live in in Sri Lanka full time.

A visa facilitator arranged for me a 1 year medical visa, which was renewed for a year.

For the past year I have been volunteering as a teaching assistant at a local private English Language school.

The principal is very keen to retain my services, as it is very difficult to find English mother-tongue teachers in Sri Lanka.

As he is keen to retain my services, the school principal is very willing and eager to be of help in my visa renewal when it becomes due.

He has had previous experience of seeking to assist with a visa application for an English expat teacher. The education ministry told him that they will sponsor visas for expat English teachers only for state schools, not for private schools. This was the case 3 years ago. There was a suggestion that the ministry were looking at the issue, and there might be change in the future to allow visas for English expat teachers in private schools.

Does anyone know, or does anyone have a friend in the education  ministry  who would know, whether or not  visas for English teachers are granted for teachers in private schools ?

If the answer is still 'No' my visa facilitator suggested that the school could appoint me as a director, and issue me with shares in the company which runs the school, and on that basis I could apply for a business visa.

Does anyone one know, or have a friend in the immigration department who would know, whether this approach he would be practicable and acceptable to the immigration department ?

All advice would be very gratefully received

Best wishes and kindest regards



Christopher

Christopher, you can get any information from this
http://www.gic.gov.lk/gic/
or make a call to 1919 and ask what you want to know about any government offices in Sri Lanka
You need not a friend to work there.

Thanks Mal

That's a very useful source of information.

I went to the site and clicked on 'Obtaining Visas'

I got a full list of those people who would be eligible to apply for a visa.

But there was no answer to the questions

1. Are English teachers in private schools eligible for a visa ?

2. Would an English director and shareholder of a private school be eligible for a business visa ?

If you know anyone who could answer these questions I would be very grateful if you could ask them these two specific questions and give me their answers.

Many thanks


Best wishes and kindest regards

Christopher

Dear Chris,

These web sites are either outdated or carry nothing relates to the Frequently Asked Questions.
Simply run by lethargic, unskilled morons than those who willing to help you.

Your question is bit tricky but there is nothing called you can not obtain a visa.

British School in Borella and Overseas School in Battaramulla do employ many foreign nationals and they do have long term visa to carryout the so called activities.

In your case, we have to work with the institute to comply with the government regulations. Else even as a director, you won't be able to go for the VISA.

I will PM you my personal email address along with few questions. Please make-sure to update me with the requested details. It will help me to understand the scenario a bit and suggest you a practical approach.

Best regards,
Zee

You are welcome to Sri lanka!
Regards,
Courty

Moderated by Bhavna 8 months ago
Reason : Post is from 2013!
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

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Regards,
Ran

Hi Dear ,

I would like to do something for you.

Best regards,
Anu

Moderated by Christopher last month
Reason : Please post your advert under the Housing section
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