98 foreign child caregivers and 8 domestic workers so far

The Department of Labour (DoL) under Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment (MoICE) has approved 98 foreign child caregivers (FCC) in the country. Thimphu has seen the highest number of applicants at 52 followed by Phuentsholing with 25 applicants. The program was expanded from 9 June 2023.

Since the opening of another application for foreign domestic workers (FDW) on 4 September, there has been only 8 applicants which is strictly confined to the particular household work including caregiving for the elderly, sick and differently-abled household members.

Although there is high demand for FCC and FDW, sourcing the workers is seen to be the most challenging one.

The maximum salary paid to the workers is Nu 13,000 and a minimum is Nu 8,000. Most of the caregivers and workers expect higher pay scale, and therefore, prefer working in bigger cities for better pay.

However, the agents assure them that the deal is good with Nu 13,000 along with free accommodation and food

It was known that though the 38 recognized private agents are doing their best, but looking for the caregivers and workers is difficult.

Though the job compels the need of female workers, the flexibility of choosing either male or female workers are given.

With such challenges, DoLis even planning to go beyond and encourage the locals who have free time to do part time work. If the situation still remains same then there are plans to make the pay more attractive, whereby individuals who are free can do the job on a hourly basis and earn.

It was also known that there are some cases where a few of the foreign workers leave for their country for holidays and do not return back. Hence the total number of applicants doesn’t equal those who are in the country.

Though the employers should ensure that the caregivers and workers does not seek other employment with anyone else during their stay in the country and within the contract period, as the worker is prohibited from working for any other household, including those of immediate family members, who are not residents of the employer.

If the previous employer does not require them any longer, they will be allowed to transfer from the present employer to another with prior approval from DoL.

DoL is carrying out regular inspection and ad hoc visits to employers’ residence during reasonable hours to evaluate working conditions, living arrangements and overall treatment of the caregivers and workers.

DoL also maintains an accessible avenue for the caregivers and workers to voice grievance or concerns. The personal information provided by them during the recruitment and employment process will be confidential. This is to ensure that this sensitive data remains private and secure.

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