Australian exodus not an alarming issue as of now, Foreign Minister

48th Meet the press was held on 20 Jan


The minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MoFAET), during the 48 Meet the Press, said Bhutanese leaving for Australia is a worrying trend, but it is not an alarming issue for now.

Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji stated that the population entering and departing the nation would be balanced in the future. He did, however, add that would become an alarming issue if the trend continues even after 2024.

Nevertheless, he remains optimistic that the government’s efforts would contribute to slowing the trend. Additionally, in around five years’ time, the equilibrium between those who stay and those who leave would be reached.

In his subsequent remarks, he added that the country’s transformation and reforms would also enhance opportunities for young people.

Furthermore, every Bhutanese attaining the age of 18 should enroll themselves for the Gyalsung project for one year which will commence from 2024 said the minister.

Through the project, the government plans to initiate trainings, studies and opportunities for the youth to help them remain in the country.

While he asserted that there will be some cases where people would avail permanent resident (PR), he reassured that they would eventually move back and forth between the two countries.

According to Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, while the government is worried about the trend, we could offer them investment options so that their savings may be reinvested in the country. “We will be able to take benefit of more Bhutanese going abroad,” he said.

In addition, the PM suggested that opportunities and newer job portals be established in the nation to encourage those who are abroad to return home and to reduce the number of people going abroad.

As per the latest data from the MoFAET, there are 32,258 Bhutanese living abroad in 113 countries as of 20 January this year.

Of the total, the highest reside in Australia with 10,911, followed by India with 9,519, Kuwait with 3184, Thailand with 1356, and 137 in America and others spread across amongst 113 countries.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry has started to list those living abroad starting from 2020. The ministry is also developing an App to oversee those living abroad. They would also be releasing data on those living abroad in a quarterly basis every year.

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