Immigration: Responding to the media yesterday during the Meet-the-Press, home minister Dawa Gyaltshen said that his ministry is working on the illegal immigration problem and on the 5,000 illegal non-uniform workers under DANTAK and IMTRAT.

The National Council in its recent session raised the issue of illegal immigration. The house expressed serious concerns on the rising number of illegal immigrants in the country, pointing out that leaving the issue unchecked could lead to a serious threat to the country’s safety and security.

The House also recommended that the government talk at the earliest with IMTRAT and DANTAK regarding the 5,000 non-uniform immigrant workers without possessing work permits.

As per the Council’s legislative committee report, DANTAK and IMTRAT are said to have around 5,000 illegal non-uniform expatriate workers.

The report estimated that DANTAK is employing 3,000 while IMTRAT has 2,000 workers without work permits.

Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen said that the government is as concerned about the issue as the National Council.  Therefore, the home, and the labour and human resources ministries are working closely to address the issue.

The ministries will approach DANTAK and IMTRAT after visiting the rules and procedures on non-uniform foreign workers. “Since India and Bhutan has always shared strong relations, I have unstinted hope of their full support to work out the solutions on the non-uniform workers,” the home minister said.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that illegal immigration is a not new scenario and that it had existed even before. Lyonchoen, however, expressed appreciation to the National Council for bringing up the issue.

“This offers us an opportunity to work on the solutions for future,” Lyonchoen said.

Lyonchoen however added that the government could not comment on what is being done immediately. “Because to act it needs to be discussed between the ministries and with DANTAK and IMTRAT,” he said.

“Only when the matter is discussed with them will the government be able to decide on what needs to be done.”

Tempa Wangdi