The labour ministry has been issuing public notifications regarding fake operators advertising overseas employment to ensure that jobseekers are not victimised.

The ministry officials said that the notification is a regular awareness programme that the Department of Employment and Human Resources (DoEHR) conducts for youth and others looking for jobs abroad.

The ministry in its notification advised jobseekers to apply for jobs only with labour ministry’s licensed agents, to crosscheck with the ministry about any overseas jobs advertised online , and that no payments should be  made to the agents unless authorised by the ministry.

Labour officials said that the department has assisted individuals who have sought assistance of the ministry.  “It is important for people to be aware that the government is ensuring provision of employment opportunities. If people avail opportunities validated by the ministry then it will help in minimising problems.”

However, officials said that people do not regard the information provided by the ministry about all the problems they could face by availing jobs from unauthorised agents.

People can access information from the ministry and regional offices in person. They can also verify authorised agents from the ministry’s website.

Currently, there are seven Bhutanese overseas employment agents registered with the ministry.

According to the state of the nation report 2018, the labour ministry directly facilitated employment of 32,000 youth and spent Nu 1.2Billion to support employment schemes that benefited 27,000 youth.

As of last year, close to 3800 jobseekers had availed of jobs overseas.

Labour officials said that cases involving unauthorised operators could be filed against individual unauthorised operators under the Penal Code of Bhutan.

According to the Labour and Employment Act of Bhutan 2007, a person shall not act as an employment agent unless the person is licensed.

The licensed overseas employment agents should also follow the procedures laid out in the regulation on Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agent 2013.

It was found that the agents must seek approval from the ministry right from announcing overseas vacancies to the final placement.

It was learnt that the ministry would take action depending on the degree of offense committed, which ranges from warnings to trials in the law court.

Rinchen Zangmo