Returnees from abroad despair at unemployment

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Due to COVID-19, most youths who have returned from abroad are desperate without employment. The majority of them used to work in other countries and few were students of various universities.

Chencho Dorji who returned from the Middle East said he had been without a job for three months now. He still does not have a job and he is staying with his cousin in Thimphu. He had to return to the country without completing his tenure due to the pandemic. “I am still in search of a job as it is difficult to sustain in Thimphu,” he said.

Another individual who returned from the Middle East shared that after returning she stayed with her relatives but later she had a problem with her cousin. “Recently I thought of applying in Build Bhutan Project (BBP) but lost interest and I am helping my parents with agricultural work,” she said adding her friends are involved in BBP program.

Ugyen Dorji who came from India said he still has one year to complete his Masters. He said that he cannot study like he used to do back at the college. “I help my single mother besides studying and currently I am a Desuup,” he said. “I do not have an option to find other work as I have to study and soon we are going to have online exams,” he said adding he feel most stressed being the eldest from the family. 

Nidup Zangmo, who returned from India, said she worked in India for almost four years and wished to go back. She said she has to depend on her family as she does not have a job.  She said it is difficult to get work in Bhutan as even university graduates are unemployed. “My friends who are university graduates are still without job whereas I am a Class XII graduate,” she said. “I hope we will recover from this current pandemic as I wish to return to continue my work,”

The government has initiated Build Bhutan Project to engage youths who are interested to work in construction sites. The Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) encourages youths who are unemployed to take up opportunities in construction. The Build Bhutan Project is the key component of the Economic Contingency Plan during the Covid-19 situation and an intervention to the employment gap created by Covid-19.

The ministry has stated that all interested employers and employees can register through an online system available on their webpage for BBP and Youth Engagement and Livelihood Program (YELP). There are almost 40,000 to 50,000 job seekers registered with the ministry of which around 8,000 were active job seekers before the pandemic. BBP aims to employ over 7,000 unemployed youth in the construction sector within two years.

A person who returned from the Middle East said that he preferred to work abroad as the job was easier and suitable to their taste and qualification and he was not interested in working in the construction sector.

A female student who also returned recently said that she has very little idea about the employment  opportunities available in the country.

Tenzin Lhamo from Thimphu

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