The Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) launched the regulation on Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agents (BOEAs) and audio-video on inculcating positive attitude towards jobs yesterday in MoLHR Minister’s conference hall, Thimphu.
MoLHR Minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, said, “The rationale behind starting overseas employment was basically that the jobseekers themselves, parents, private individuals and policy makers have a same opinion that overseas employment should be started in Bhutan as well because it has been practice in most of the countries and the region.”
“When we send the Bhutanese aboard, it brings in a lot of foreign currency, experiences, transfer of knowledge from abroad, work ethics and positive mindset among the Bhutanese workers. We are hopeful that our youth will learn work ethics from outside countries,” Lyonpo said.
He said that the policy is to create full employment in the country and government is willing to spend on skills and knowledge that the youth need when they go abroad and to ensure that there is no brain drain. Lyonpo said when Bhutanese go abroad, there may be problems such as sickness, death and internal conflict in the host countries, in such cases, government will bring Bhutanese workers back home at the cost of the government, and the agents have the responsibility of informing the government.
MoLHR Minister said the audio-video has lot of message such as telling jobseekers not to be too choosy with jobs and to be honest and other problem such as changing of jobs frequently. Jobseekers must be receptive and take the jobs that are offered. “We must have work ethics and dignity of labour, which is very important. Jobseekers must learn to tackle any jobs irrespective of qualification,” he added.
Lyonpo added that the time has come to take blue color jobs as these jobs come with a lot of incentives, competency base trainings to promote dignity of labour.
He said oversea employment program is not a short-term program, but it will take time to implement it because it involves costs to develop skills and knowledge of the Bhutanese workers.
MoLHR Secretary, Pema Wangda, said after reading the negative reports on migrant workers working in the middle east countries, the ministry has done research on what categories of workers in the middle east countries are exploited and found out that exploitation is taking place in domestic helpers and construction workers, therefore, the ministry will not allow the Bhutanese workers to work as domestic helpers to the middle east and other countries. The ministry will target only the multi-national and big companies where regulation and laws are respected.
Program officer, DOE, MoLHR, Tshewang Rinchen, said the regulation is developed to promote and uphold the dignity and fundamental human rights of Bhutanese Overseas Workers (BOWs)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take the lead role in collaboration with the Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agents (BOEAs) in terms of evacuation and provide financial support and diplomatic coordination.
The criteria for BOWs must be Bhutanese citizen and have attained at least 21 years and not older than 40 years at the time of recruitment or as specified by receiving countries and have minimum of class X and work aboard for a maximum of five years at a stretch.
Upon approval of the application, the applicant shall pay registration charges of Nu 100,000 and it is valid for one year from the issuance. BOEAs shall submit an application for the renewal of its registration 60 days before it expiry and pay renewal charges of Nu 100,000.
The principal or the BOEA shall be responsible for the payment of the visa fee, airfare which shall be refundable by the BOWs within six months after securing employment and processing of work permit if applicable.