In the beginning of this year, about 700 Bhutanese went abroad, and about 2,500 Bhutanese have registered for IELTS in IMS in May and June 2022. There are around 15,000 Bhutanese living abroad. Therefore, the large number of Bhutanese leaving abroad has become an issue of concern.
During the 7th Session of the Third Parliament of Bhutan, Member of Parliament (MP) of Mongar constituency, Karma Lhamo, said many capable Bhutanese including civil servants are leaving their good jobs in the country and are seeking employment abroad, popularly in Australia and other countries.
MP Karma Lhamo said it is a good thing if one can go abroad and study as these groups of Bhutanese can bring in new ideas and they get exposure too.She said it helps in curbing the current unemployment issues, and also helps in bringing foreign currencies in the country, but it is a concern as the time passes by, there may not be capable youths left in the country in the future.
There are also cases, like people who are already employed and earning a good income are also resigning from their jobs, and there has been an increase in the number of civil servants resigning to go abroad.
So therefore, it is high time for the government to come up with measures and interventions with regard to it, said MP Karma Lhamo.
In response, the Prime Minister (PM) Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering said during his eastern Bhutan tour, hemet with the people of Samdrupjongkhar, they had discussion about the goongtongs. Samdrupjongkharhas about 326 goongtongs. The reason was rural-urban migration. So therefore, the government cannot do anything on that matter.
Goongtongs andmany Bhutanese leaving for foreign countries is a concern, and that is why various DeSuup skilling programs have been initiated, and focusis on the national goals and aspirations and skills for the 21st Century.
“The work should be made in such a way that they can get good earnings, and if they are not satisfied and leave the country, then it shows they are not happy to live in Bhutan. Currently, there are no options and anyone can go abroad if they wish,” said PM.
Citing as an example, someone in Australia can earn enough in a day to what is equivalent to a month’s salary in Bhutan. Therefore, “We all know the reasons for our Bhutanese people leaving for Australia,” said PM.
There is no need for research on the reasons behind why Bhutanese are leaving Bhutan thePM adding that there are many Bhutanese working in 102 different countries and during the worst COVID-19 situation, many of the Bhutanese have had to return back to Bhutan.
While the government is concerned about the Bhutanese leaving for employment in the Middle-East countries, they were asked to do research about the work and place they will be staying and if in doubt, they can always contact Foreign Ministry. It is because many Bhutanese had to be retrieved from a few places in the Middle-East. The government has requested those venturing out for jobs in the Middle-East to do a proper research of the place and work.
Seeking employment in countries, like Australia, presents no issues unlike in the Middle-East, and also one can earn very good money there. The government has not stopped anyone from leaving for abroad or will stop them in the future. The government does not have rights to do that, said thePM.
“However, the government’s responsibility is to make the country’s economy strong, so that the Bhutanese will not prefer to leave the country.” The PM said in another 5 to 10 years, Bhutanese people will not want go abroad for economic reasons.