Labor ministry to cancel overseas recruitment agent’s license

Following allegations of being duped reportedly by 23 girls sent to Dubai


Following allegations by 23 girls that Yarphel Overseas Recruitment Agent cheated them by making false promises about their work in Dubai, the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) conducted an investigation after which the ministry decided to cancel the agent’s license.

However, the date for cancellation has not been been decided yet. The Royal Embassy in Kuwait had notified the ministry about the issue after they received a complaint.

An official from the Department of Employment and Human Resources said that the agent has breached the regulation on Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agent 2013 because of which the ministry must penalize it.

As per the regulation, agents must have the labor ministry’s approval for every step they take starting from announcement of overseas vacancies to the final placement. However, the agent failed to seek the ministry’s approval. “The breach is very serious. The government instructions are to implement the rules and enforce them strictly so that these are not repeated,” the official mentioned.

“Investigation revealed that the agent had placed a group of youths in high risk occupations without seeking the ministry’s approval. This itself is evidence of the breach of regulation,” the official added.

As per section 13.5 under chapter 13 of the Regulation on Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agent 2013: “A respondent found guilty of committing an offense, regardless of the number or nature of charges, against five or more complaints in a single case shall be imposed the penalty of cancellation of license.”

Talking to Business Bhutan, the proprietor of Yarphel Overseas Recruitment Agent, Sonam Tobgay, said that the allegations framed against him are false.

“Only six to seven of 23 girls sent to Dubai have complained and the rest are still working abroad which means that it is only a few who are disgruntled,” he said adding the girls were briefed thoroughly on the job requirements during several interviews prior to their departure.

“In fact, they had failed the interviews but they were desperate for the jobs and decided to go.”

Sonam Tobgay claims to possess Watsapp video clips of some of the girls expressing happiness at their situation in Dubai.

Further, Sonam Tobgay said the girls were supposed to pay him on installment basis but the main instigator has not paid at all, and the owner feels that the motive behind the whole scene was to evade payment.

“Local media covered a very lopsided version of the whole story, which is having negative repercussions on me and my agency,” said the proprietor but he accepted his mistake of not seeking the labor ministry’s approval.

The agent tried to contact the girls who complained against it to find out the root cause but they failed to respond.

Meanwhile, the official from the ministry said that if an agent deliberately engages in acts that risks the wellbeing of someone, no amount of good can justify the wrong. The agent in this case deliberately avoided informing the ministry and placed youths in occupations not approved by the ministry thereby risking their lives.

“This is about seriousness of breach of conduct and not about how many have complained or not,” said the official.

There are seven Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agents registered with the labor ministry that contributes to government’s overseas employment program namely Bhutan Overseas Employment Agency, Rumi Overseas Employment Agency, Best Placement Agency, i-ED jobs, Bhutan Overseas Jinzai Pvt. Ltd, Bhutan International School for Tourism & Hospitality and Employ Bhutan Overseas Employment Agency.

Yarphel Agency has sent nearly 400 youths to the Middle East, perhaps the highest number so far. However, the official from the ministry said that achieving the government’s objectives and targets are important but not at the expense of risk to lives of youths.

Since inception till June 30 this year, a total of 3,962 Bhutanese jobseekers are working overseas: 2,732 women and 1,230 men.

Yarphel Overseas Recruitment Agent was established in November 2014.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu