The rush to a better life by many of Sri Lanka's most skilled professionals - medics, software engineers, scientists - has created a worrying skills gap for the 22 million left behind.

Sri Lanka is losing its doctors, lawyers and other workers in a huge brain drain - and the world needs to pay attention

Since March, Sri Lankans have faced severe shortages - of fuel, medicine and food essentials.

Now, the country is losing yet another resource: its most skilled professionals.

From engineers to doctors, why are Sri Lankans leaving their own country?

 Sri Lanka is facing its worst financial crisis in more than seven decades.

The nation has been battered by a combination of factors including COVID-19 and rising oil prices.

Data suggests the number of those leaving the country was big enough to delay any economic recovery.

Power cuts

Fuel shortages have caused lengthy, daily power cuts that could last for over half a day.

They have also led to transport issues which disrupted people's routines.

Loss of faith in government

On top of the daily grind, migrants said they had lost faith in their government.

They feared that rising nationalism would favour inefficient leaders at the polls.

Mental health

The uncertainty has become too much for many Sri Lankans.

 Shamla Yoosoof, an investment researcher from Colombo, said when power cuts did not stick to the schedule, she became anxious and had panic attacks.

In June, the Sri Lankan government rolled out a "Work Abroad" programme which seeks to earn more remittances.

Remittances are an important source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. 

By 2018, it received over $7 billion in remittances, close to 8% of the country's GDP.

Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne of the Institute of Policy Studies calls skilled migration "a double-edged sword".

Higher overseas earnings could increase money flows into the island.

But if too many people flee, a dearth of relatives left behind could also shrink what is sent home.

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