Labour: A technical glitch with the immigration system in Phuentsholing has left hundreds of expatriate workers and their employers frustrated.

Since Monday, the workers and employers have been complaining about the delay in producing work permits due to a problem in the system.

The main problem is with the finger-scanner of the system working for a few minutes and then crashing repeatedly.

An expatriate worker from Falakatta has been waiting in Phuentsholing for about a week now. “I reached here last Friday,” he said, adding that he even got time to go home and return while waiting of the work permit. “I’m still here.”

Meanwhile, the most affected are the employers, who hire the expatriate workers, with expenses on food and lodging shooting up by the day.

Including the labour recruiting agent’s charges, the cost to produce an expat’s work permit adds to Nu 1,200.

A businessman in Phuentsholing town said that, besides the expenses, a lot of their time was getting wasted.

“Employers pay advances and hire workers from across the border, so it’s a loss when they can’t reach on time for work,” the businessman said. “There must be a solution soon.”

But more than anything, the employers’ major concern is about their workers leaving out of frustration.  They say there were many cases where expat workers have left in such situations.

Since Tuesday, the workers were already queuing up as soon as the border gate had opened.

Immigration officials said the system’s server was located in the capital with the immigration department, and that they weren’t sure of what caused the system to break down.

Officials said they also could not comment on how long it would take for the system to resume.


By Rajesh Rai,  Phuentsholing