Overseas programs to be enhanced and continued: PM

Despite some overseas programs getting mired in lapses and controversy, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering maintained that overseas programs would be further enhanced and continued during the Friday Meet yesterday.

“Overseas program packages will go on for the history of this nation and this is one of the ways to answer unemployment issue,” Lyonchhen said, adding that there is a heightened tendency to mix up the ‘Learn and Earn’ program package in Japan with all other overseas programs whenever we talk about overseas employment schemes.

“For all of us here, it must be clear on this that all overseas programs are not synonymous to the Earn and Learn package in Japan. All the packages that we have are not linked to ‘Learn and Earn’ package in Japan,” Lyonchhen said.

During the year 2017 and 2018, a total of 7,566 jobseekers had registered with the department under the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) through the online job portal system. Out of which 4,069 were placed in various private, corporate, NGOs and government organizations. Through the Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP), a total of 1,637 job seekers were placed under the Direct Employment Scheme (DES) and 1,911 jobseekers through the Overseas Employment Scheme.

Lyonchhen said the present ‘Learn and Earn’ package in Japan was started off with good intention, but it just got complicated with little problems and mishaps in between which the government is trying their best to solve.

“Despite these problems, there are still students who want to go. In fact I will be seeing off six of them today. It is just not failure, they have understood everything and still they are ready to go.”

Lyonchhen added that the program is totally not a failure. “Some are doing okay and some are doing too good. So they have heard both sides of the story and despite that they want to go and I personally think I should not stop them.”

“The government’s stand is very clear on the overseas programs. We will look into all the packages. We will look into the modalities of sending students out. We will also look into the understanding that the government can have with agencies and our stand is as far as possible to target developed world; the first world economies,” Lyonchhen said.

Lyonchhen said as far as possible they should have government to government package because things get diluted once agencies come in between and some agencies have different motives which all can guess.

 PM reiterated that the government will be definitely allowing overseas programs.

“We will value that, anticipate future risks and try to bring preventative aspect to this. On a straight note we will not stop overseas programs, but it will only be enhanced and continued,” he added.

Meanwhile, since inception till June 30, 2017, a total of 3,962 Bhutanese jobseekers are working overseas:  2,732 women and 1,230 men. There are seven Bhutanese Oversea Employment Agents registered with the MoLHR.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu