Police are arresting illegal workers on an almost daily basis

Immigration: Gelephu police arrested 15 people for working in the country without a permit, yesterday.

The police have forwarded them to the immigration department.

Finding and detaining illegal workers in Gelephu has become a daily occurrence.

Those detained told police they had entered as illegal workers because they lacked proper documents.

Police said they stop and question suspicious persons who loiter in town and those who enter from illegal route for country’s security reason.

After an investigation, some of the illegal workers received fines of Nu 9,900 from the immigration department.

Immigration regional director Tshewang Tobgyel said while questioning illegal workers many say they lacked documents like voter or identity cards.

“We do not want any of them to come as an illegal worker, and we always sensitise them to come as a legal worker with proper documentation from the gate so that nobody is affected at the end,” he said.

However, some workers said they opted to enter illegally because of the time taken at the gate.

But the regional director disputed this. He said many of the employers were happy with the introduction of the token system at the gate.

“We check whether the documents like voter card and identity card they were carrying are original or not, and we hardly take more than 10 seconds while verifying at the gate and the issue of time consumption which was raised by the illegal workers are untrue,” Tshewang Tobgyel said.

Immigration officials pointed out that they have also been fining employers who have been using illegal workers.

“Any employers who want to employ non-nationals have to seek approval from the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources and have to (obtain) work permit from immigration,” officials said.

The regional director said workers entering the country illegally have become a concern for both immigration and the police.

By Yeshey Dema, Gelephu