To assess the impact of the study and work programme in Japan, labour ministry officials said that the registration had been temporarily withheld for April 2018 batch.

Labour ministry officials said the programme is new and that there was overwhelming interest from job seekers to avail of the programme. “The registration of candidates is put on hold at the moment in order to study the impact, sort out any omission and commission in the process of deployment of youth to Japan.”

The ministry is in the process of collecting feedback from the youth who are already studying and working in Japan.

Labour ministry officials said that the ministry had provided youth with their emergency contact numbers. “The ministry also has complete database of youth who are placed in Japan to trace their place of study and work. If any incident of safety issue must arise, we are prepared to handle the issue through our network comprising of agents both in Bhutan and Japan, institutes, and other Japanese counterparts.”

According to the labour ministry officials, the quality of services provided by placement agencies is regulated by the regulation on Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agent 2013.

All registered jobseekers with minimum qualification of Class XII can avail of the opportunity.

Managing director of Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO), Jurmey Tshewang, said that 128 Bhutanese youth have gone to Japan so far. “Our expectation is that there is a knowledge transfer and that youth learn a lot. At the same time they would be able to earn enough through part-time jobs.”

He said that youth would bring with them the knowledge, skills, discipline and would have imbibed the Japanese working culture.

The third batch consisting of 384 Bhutanese would leave for Japan by first week of October. Until now, none have returned. About 285 youth have been shortlisted for the April 2018 batch.

Labour ministry officials said that there were two steps to working in Japan. “First, job seekers must learn Japanese language compulsorily as per their training standards. They learn basic language for four to six months.”

It was learnt that job seekers would sit for Japanese language test after learning the language for about one and a half to two years in Japan.

While undergoing the training, youth could do part-time jobs which include working in convenience stores, hotels and factories.

Labour ministry officials said that there was no limit to living and working in Japan at the moment. However, youth would have to repay loans within the stipulated loan term of the respective banks.

Rinchen Zangmo