Can Bhutan tackle the brain drain?

The MP of Monggar constituency, Karma Lhamo


Given the alarming rate at which our potential workforce is going out of the country in search for better platforms, the government should work at creating an enabling environment and create opportunities for youth in the country at par with other high-paying countries.

This was reiterated by Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering who was responding to an issue raised by the MP of Monggar constituency, Karma Lhamo.

Seeking employment abroad, though it can be seen as mitigating the rising unemployment crisis, the MP said it has today become a national concern which could aggravate in the future. 

According to the report Nation’s State 2021, by Prime Minister, today there are about 10,500 Bhutanese working abroad. About 700 youth had left the country in March and April this year according to the reports in media.

In addition, around 2,500 youths had registered for IELTS in Royal Institute of Management and Institute of Management. There are only around 300,000 active labour workforce according to the Labour Force Survey, 2021.

The MP asked the government’s measures and interventions regarding Bhutanese seeking employment abroad.

Responding to the question on the government’s measures and intervention, the Prime Minister said it was indeed a concern but the government will not stop people from pursuing their employment opportunities abroad. 

Prime Minister said that people seeking greener path is normal. “Government has no right to stop people leaving abroad,” he said.

He also added that the government has been facilitating every possible way, such as helping individuals sit for language tests and offering assistance to firms that offer the services for language tests.

On the future plans, being one of His Majesty’s noble visions, the Prime Minister said that the government will create more employment opportunities for our youth in the country which are at par with other high-paying countries.  

“Having an enabling environment would make foreign experts to work in Bhutan or from abroad. Thus, the rate of people seeking employment abroad might reduce and the youths might stay back,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister shared that there were incidences where government had to bring back Bhutanese working abroad who were exploited. Therefore, he said Bhutanese should have to opt to go to the countries where there working environment is good.

While there was no designated agency to monitor Bhutanese working in overseas, today, the foreign ministry takes up this responsibility.

As of now, there are Bhutanese workings in 102 countries across the globe.