Yangyel Lhaden 

After more than two months, the labour ministry has lifted the suspension of the import of foreign workers on March 28.

This comes into effect after the Cabinet approved the request from individuals seeking approval to lift the suspension of the import of foreign workers on March 22.

Contractors and employers can now import foreign workers of all categories: manual, professional, and technical workers.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that foreign workers would have to follow the existing protocols of 14-day quarantine for international travellers coming into the country. Further relaxation would come into effect from April 4 and the workers coming will have to quarantine for only five days.

“There is no restriction on the number of foreign workers a contractor is allowed to bring in the country,” Lyonchhen said.

To import foreign workers contractors have to register through the labour ministry’s online system called LabourNet system.

A labour ministry official said that the demand for foreign workers was high. “The demand for foreign workers is between 25,000 and 30,000.”

He said that before the ministry announced the restriction on foreign worker import on January 24 there were around 1,500 applicants in their portal. “All these applicants were rejected following the enforcement of the restriction and now they have to register again.”

The official said that the number of foreign workers imported would also depend on the availability of quarantine centres. “There are chances an applicant would want to import many foreign workers which could saturate the quarantine facilities leaving other applicants not able to import any foreign workers.”

He said that the ministry would screen the applicants and make sure every applicant gets an equal chance to bring in foreign workers.

“We will facilitate the import of foreign workers with approval from the immigration office,” the official said.