Jobs: Arabian Centers Employment Services (ACES), one of the largest recruitment groups, will recruit Bhutanese jobseekers in the Middle East countries.

The Dubai-based recruitment group’s president, (Dr) Samer Salibi, who met with the labour minister in Thimphu last week, said that discussions were held on the possibility of recruiting Bhutanese jobseekers. However, no formal agreement has been signed yet.

“We don’t promise certain number of job offers to be given but we promise that it will be a dramatic increase of jobs offered than what was recruited before,” he said.

He said the jobseekers would be employed in large corporations in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. “The recruitment has to start right away.”

The ACES is operating in 15 countries around the world with its head quarters in Dubai. The recruitment group doesn’t support home-based jobs and construction jobs, he said.

He said the workers would be employed in hospitality (hotels, restaurants), retail sales, airport staffing and airlines. “We believe that it would be a great opportunity for Bhutanese to gain a share of the jobs in large companies,” the president said.

Labour secretary Pema Wangda said that no formal proposal has come from the agent and that the government should endorse such proposals if the recruitment is to be routed through the ministry.

“But we can’t stop if people go on their own,” he said. He said the ministry promotes overseas employment only in professional jobs where workers are protected. “We don’t want to send jobseekers for difficult works,” he said.

So far, he said over 700 Bhutanese have found jobs abroad since the overseas employment programme started. He said many countries are facing their own set of unemployment problems and that finding employment outside was easier said than done. A majority of Bhutanese is today employed in India and Thailand.

(Dr) Samer Salibi said any jobseeker with good English over 21 years of age, looking to build an international career and ready for employment abroad for at least two yours can apply through the labour ministry.

The number of jobs available in the Middle East is in the thousands but it all depends on finding the right skills in Bhutanese market and quality of professional service offered by the local agencies. He said if the private sector and the government in Bhutan create a good environment for overseas employment, he said the recruitment agency would be able to take Bhutanese in thousands annually.

He said workers should be willing to work hard. “They should also understand that it is not going to be a tour but a real working environment and could be hard work in many cases,” he said.

While there are allegations of mistreatments on Bhutanese workers abroad, the president denied about such practices. (Dr) Samer Salibi said, “We haven’t seen anything like that.” He said all employers should not be blamed due to some isolated incidents.

By MB Subba