Six youths explain why they are going to Australia and what would stop them

Why are they going?

A recent college graduate, Choden, 21, is currently embarking on her journey to Australia.

She said, “I am planning to leave the country because it is very difficult to get a job here in Bhutan. The job criteria requires people with working experiences of up to five years and more, and this criterion, especially, is very discouraging to the fresh graduates in the job market.”

“Even if one gets a job, the salary is low and discouraging, making it difficult to sustain. The living standards are high in the capital city, and the cost of living is gradually increasing day-by- day. Thus, I have no option but to go to Australia to earn for myself and my family,” she added.

23-year-old Yangchen is making an effort to continue her education abroad, a pathway to better prospects and income.

Yangchen said, “I am leaving the country to update my education, explore, and obtain exposure. Even though I have a degree and sufficient skills in my field of study, the income and chances in this nation are just too poor.”

She admitted that she did not take the Royal Civil Service Exams (RCSE), as she intended to move to Australia to continue her education while working. She is currently waiting for the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) letter from the college she has applied to.

Yangchen said, “RCSE did not list out the jobs that interest me, and moreover, I have to put in more effort, and I believe the pay is better abroad.”

Norbu, another 23-year-old planning to go to Australia, said, “I am planning to leave the country because there are not enough opportunities for us youths in our country. I do not plan on staying back.”

Dungkar is another 23-year-old with a dream to go study and work in Australia.

 She said, “I had a feeling from a very young age that I would pursue my higher education abroad. I have always wanted to grow, explore, and experience a different life apart from the one I grew up in.”

“The international news coverage about immigrants coming to the UK for a better life is another reason I am intending to leave,” she continued.

“The way I thought about it was that if individuals could come and seek a better future, I am equally free to leave and seek a better future that way,” she added.

Budhi is a father and the family’s primary provider. Despite having a secure employment, he intends to go abroad.

“While the wage is enough for my family, it is not enough to save for my family’s future,” he said.

“People moving abroad sharing stories of how they are generating enough money to sustain their lives is appealing,” he added.

What will make them stay back?

The reporter asking them what will make them stay back in the country.

Yangchen said, “If I get the opportunity and pay that is equivalent to my expectations and skills I will stay back. Being the eldest, I have a lot of pressure and expectations. With the pay here, forget about doing something right now for my family, it would be hard for me to even get through the month.”

She said that the basic salary for fresh graduates who are new employees starts from Nu 12,000 to Nu15, 000.

“It is just not enough,” she stated.

“Though many might think that we are running after money and not thinking about the country and its economy, but it’s about self-sufficiency and survival as well. Just staying in the country for better opportunities and hoping that things will improve will not really reduce the financial burdens on me,” said Yangchen.

“It is better to work as a cleaner in a foreign country and face hardships if I can improve my family’s financial state, and it’s not like I am going to settle there. There is no place like home. I will come back to the country with what I have earned, and maybe use it to invest in business. Directly or indirectly, I will still be contributing to the country’s economy, be it through foreign remittances or investments in real estate and businesses,” she justifies.

Choden said, “Getting a job with a high salary and working benefits will make me stay in Bhutan. Otherwise, it would be difficult.”

Dungkar also said, “It is very difficult to look for jobs with just minimal experience. If the government could raise the national minimum wage and pay us well, it will make me stay.”

Similarly, Norbu stated, “I only have experience in the media field because there are fewer opportunities, and because I have a bachelor’s degree in media studies. On top of that, it is very hard to even get opportunities in that field because we have very few media sector jobs in our country.”

“If there are jobs for us for what we have studied, it will make me stay back,” he added.

There are high school students who are in pursuit of leaving the country as well.

A class 12 student in one of the schools in Thimphu said, “My first plan is to attend a college within the country, otherwise if I do not qualify for my tertiary education in Bhutan, I will definitely take the language proficiency test and fly overseas.”

The common consensus is that the lack of desirable employment options and low starting pay is pushing most young people to take the chance to study and work abroad for a more secure future. 

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2 comments

  1. Job that are expected high salary! What kind of job they are searching and whats some of there experienced job and skilles do they have? If they have skills to do so every places is opportunity and why only Australia. People who are wealthy travel everywhere to earn but poor are left behind. Countries revinue is degrading and to bulit country, youth are the power for changes, thrill and betterment. May be Bhutanese may return here and has a better plan. Thank you. Everything is possible but not everything is probable. The grive inside youth staying here is what we can do to our nation by staying here! What we can really contribute?

  2. What those statements uttered were accurately true and hope they will make not only brighter themselves but will make Bhutan brighter for future as well.

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