It’s happened again.
Police have arrested two in connection with a scam promising employment in the US. Sixteen victims paid at least Nu 30,000 each.
The last case, which occurred earlier this year, involved 47 victims paying Nu 300,000 each to go and work in the US.
In 2015, 36 Bhutanese paid more than Nu 400,000 each to go and work in Singapore. There was no work waiting for them.
Some have lost their life’s savings paying for Australian work visas.
Employment abroad is a magnet both for us and the government. Bhutanese will continue to seek employment abroad. Some are and will continue to take advantage of this situation.
We believe their beautiful promises of working visas and employment.
In the end it is our own responsibility to verify if an offer is genuine. But not all of us may have the means to scrutinise the process.
While we have employment agencies certified by the labour ministry that could help us in finding employment abroad, it would be welcome if there is a division or cell in the government that could aid in verifying such job offers.
One phone call or email to verify information provided could expose a scam. An official or two armed with a smartphone or laptop, trained in recognising such scams, is all that would be needed.
There is also a need to intensify the awareness campaign on such scams. While the media publishes stories of such con jobs, it is limited to only a few days. There is a need to prolong the awareness campaign. Concerned agencies could use social media and publish awareness material on platforms used by the Bhutanese.
Information such as whether one would qualify for a work permit in a certain country, or the contact number of a person to verify a job offer, could be regularly published.
Taking a preemptive role rather than a reactionary one is recommended in this situation.
Too many have been made to part with their hard-earned savings, only to see their dreams crushed, because they lacked awareness. A third agency, preferably, a government one, must step in and address this problem.