Bhutan needs skilled workers

More than 15,000 Bhutanese will have gotten Australian education visas in a 12-month period from July 2022 to June 2023.

This does not take into account an increasing flow towards Canada and the UK and the more than 8,606 who moved to the Middle-East in the last 10 years.

On the other side the fertility rate has further dropped in 2023 to 1.86 which is well below the replacement rate.

At this rate, Bhutan is faced with a declining population as the young and productive people leave for foreign shores and the old and young stay behind.

If we do nothing to address the above, then we will face a demographic and economic disaster. The effects are already visible with even spaces in prime commercial areas going vacant and businesses seeing lesser customers.

Bhutan, for a long time, has had a policy to keep foreigners out and this is why it has one of the world’s toughest immigration systems.

This was understandable in the past as Bhutanese did not want to get overwhelmed and become a minority in their own country with grave consequences on its sovereignty.

However, the world has changed a lot and in today’s age the countries that are doing well are those who are able to welcome skilled workers and their families and use them to spur economic growth and demand.

The world’s top economy USA is a shining historical example with the latest being Gulf countries.

Ironically, Bhutan is a victim of the all out efforts by countries like Australia and Canada to attract young, educated and skilled people to boost their economies.

On the other hand, Japan which was once the world’s second largest economy is relegated to the third place and soon fourth as it has been unable to get in skilled immigrants due to societal resistance.

Bhutan will have to seriously consider letting in large numbers of skilled workers for long periods of time to help spur our economic growth.

This does not have to be a free for all, but we can carefully choose who we allow to enter and under what conditions they can live here.

In the meantime, Bhutanese society will have to adopt a more cosmopolitan and open outlook to having foreigners here for our own benefit and survival.

“Every aspect of the American economy has profited from the contributions of immigrants.”
President John F. Kennedy

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