But they must sign an undertaking issued by the MoFA
The corona-virus pandemic has been devastating for Bhutanese workers abroad. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues worldwide, Bhutanese workers have returned to the country. As of September 29, 2020, there were 9,111 Bhutanese workers who had returned to the country.
Due to the pandemic, most Bhutanese workers who worked abroad had to stay under lockdown and restrictions and could not continue their work. Since then Bhutanese returnees started their journey back home by March 6, 2020.
According to a report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), there were 2,184 Bhutanese returnees from Middle East countries as of September 29, 2020. However, some returnees are willing to go back to the Middle East to start working again.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tandi Dorji said, “We are discouraging those Bhutanese who are willing to travel back but if they want to travel then they need to sign an undertaking form.”
Further, Lyonpo said that the travel date for the Bhutanese returnees will depend on the availability of flight. “Once they sign the undertaking, then the risk will be taken by the one who signs the undertaking.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoAF) has issued an undertaking for Bhutanese traveling abroad where the undertaking states that the ones who are willing to go back should mention the reasons for the travel along with it and there should be a witness who also signs on the undertaking form.
The undertaking form also states that in the event of emergency circumstances abroad, the ones who sign the form will take full responsibility and the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) will not be in a position to provide any support. Upon returning to Bhutan, the one who signs the form will be quarantined for the stipulated period prescribed by the RGoB, and the one to sign the form will carry all the expenses as charged by the Ministry of Health (MoH) for quarantine, testing, and treatment.
Additionally, the Royal Government of Bhutan discourages everyone to travel abroad for one’s safety in times of COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. As of October 1, 2020, there are 475 Bhutanese who have registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to travel abroad, and there are some who have already traveled back to their work abroad and some are yet to go.
Pic courtesy: Google
Sonam Tashi from Thimphu