16 January 2016, Kuensel Online

Despite several complaints against overseas employment agents, the labour ministry says the agents have improved their service delivery over the years.

The initiative of finding jobs overseas was new, and agents need time to establish their business contacts and partners abroad, the labour minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo pointed out to Kuensel, amid claims of Bhutanese jobseekers falling prey to employment agents and fraudulent overseas.

“We didn’t come across any incident of fraud or deception with regard to overseas employments placed with ministry’s approval,” he said. “All fraud cases reported so far are those who went on their own or through unlicensed operators.”

The minister said rules and procedures are in place to ensure that jobseekers do not fall prey to fraud and bogus operators. “We urge jobseekers to go through licensed operators after completing formalities with the ministry,” he said.

However, records show that as of now the ministry has received complaints from five groups of jobseekers, each comprising of two to five people since the overseas employment programme was started in October 2013.

The ministry has also received many verbal complaints against the overseas employment agents. The verbal complainants were however urged to provide written complaints, said labour ministry officials.

Most complaints were against overseas employment agents collecting fees before deployment. Some complaints were filed by jobseekers who were deported on reaching the destination country, while others also include those who were not at all provided with any jobs after reaching the destined country, officials said.

The government pledged full employment. The government then announced an ambitious plan to send 30,000 jobseekers to work abroad within five years. However, into its third year, only 1,432 jobseekers have found jobs abroad since the overseas employment programme began, according to the latest report compiled by the labour ministry.



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