With the increasing number of unemployed youth on the lookout for jobs these days, it comes as welcome news that a fish company in Scotland, United Kingdom wants to recruit 35 workers from Bhutan. There are 400 Bhutanese applicants vying for the 35 slots.
Lama Consultancy, located in Thimphu, had initially planned to send the first batch of Bhutanese workers to Scotland earlier but due to delays in verification of documents, it now hopes to send the workers by the end of February.
CEO of Lama Consultancy, Sangay Nidup, said the company has links with a legitimate recruitment agent in Scotland that helped to find the jobs. To ensure that the job offering in Scotland is valid, Lama Consultancy further went on to check the chamber of commerce membership identity of the agent in Scotland, and it was found to be genuine.
In the past, Lama Consultancy had come across a few overseas recruitment agencies that failed to produce the membership identity, and therefore, did not comply with any rules or regulation.
Sangay Nidup pointed out that it takes a lot of time in making links with genuine agents abroad. “This is how the fake and genuine agents are being identified. After doing lots of research, we found the agent to be genuine, and thereafter, we did our advertisement through the labour ministry,” he said.
Meanwhile, a few candidates applying for the job said they are aware of fake agents deceiving workers. Therefore, they now make enquiries on the recruitment firms with the labour ministry. After knowing that the consultancy is registered with the ministry, only then do they apply for the post.
A graduate from Royal Thimphu College, Sonam Choden, said that she applied for the post of fish packer after receiving information from the labour ministry.
“Knowing there is an increasing number of graduates with less job opportunities, I decided to grab this opportunity, though I don’t have much support from my family,” she added.
She said that she took the decision to work abroad so that she can become independent and help out her family financially.
Another candidate, Depash, said that he always had an interest in working with machines. He was working temporarily with DNC where he operated different machines.
“I applied for the post of fish cleaner and machine tender because I am familiar with machines and I love to work with machines,” he said.
He also added, “If I get selected then I can earn 29 pounds per hour and if I work overtime, I can earn 35 pounds per hour.” He added that he sees a lot of benefit in working abroad.
Not all jobseekers are as optimistic as Depash. After looking at the finer details of the work contract with the labour ministry, some of the jobseekers found out that upon selection, the candidates must deposit Nu 65,000 as show-money and further pay a sum of Nu 700,000 to Lama Consultancy. They said they do not have the deposit amount as they are not earning as yet.
As for the skills requirement needed at the fishing company, there are no criteria as such, but the minimum educational qualification is set at class 10. The job applicants must have their jobseeker identity number, verified by the labour ministry, to apply.
“The Ministry advised us to give the preference to those candidates who are unemployed, whereby the ministry does all the necessary verification, but short listing and final selection is done by the consultancy,” the CEO of Lama Consultancy said.
Upon selection, a candidate has to also pay a guarantee fee for visa processing. Once the departure date has been finalized and confirmed, the candidate has to pay a one-month basic salary to the consultancy firm.
“The benefit that the candidate is going to get from the (fishing) company is, apart from their basic salary, the company will provide them with free transportation, food and accommodation,” Sangay Nidup said, further adding that other benefits under Scotland’s labour law will also be provided to them.
Lama Consultancy stated that the company will also monitor the progress of the workers as they will be keeping in touch with the candidates and the fish company in Scotland. In this way, they hope to resolve any issues that the Bhutanese workers might face with the management.
In regard to any penalty, should a candidate withdraws or fail to comply with the given terms; Sangay Nidup said they are waiting for the offer letter from the fishing company to point out the terms.
“The minimum term is 2 years and possibly the company may not allow them to withdraw unless they have some issues related to medical issues,” he added.
As for safety concerns and work assurance, he said, “It is risky because we are sending the candidates far, and we can never guarantee if they will be safe all the time. We have to make sure that the candidates are doing well and we need to handle the situation in better ways.”
Lama Consultancy is a registered recruitment consultancy company with the labour ministry. It has links with a recruitment agency in Scotland called Recruitment International, and a few recruitment agents in Qatar and Dubai.