Despite the failure of Learn and Earn Programme (LEP), the Minister of Labour and Human Resources has signed another similar programme called Technical Internship Training Program (TITP).
A batch of 25 Bhutanese youths will travel to Japan in the first batch under this programme. The 25 youths will be working as caregivers or technicians.
Many of such programmes have abused the labourers and are criticised within Japan. Sonam Tamang has been the glaring example from Bhutan who have drawn attention of the Japanese and Bhutanese governments along with international labour rights movement.
Due to increased labour cost and lack of available human resources within the country, Japan government tends to outsource cheap labourers from developing countries and are exploited. With no rules protecting these migrant labourers, poor monitoring by Japanese authorities and language barriers there has been a high level of abuse and even deaths under the program.
The exploitation of the labourers is explained by 171 deaths between 2012 and 2017 – 28 deaths were due to accidents,17 suicide cases and 59 died of sickness.
The government says the TITP will be monitored to avoid abuse and accidents.
The interns will have no loans and are may earn Nu 100,000 per month.
A press release by Labour Ministry stated that the program which has been designed in direct collaboration with the Japanese government will allow Bhutanese youth to pursue internships with Japanese employers to gain skills and knowledge for their employability.
It says the internship is also expected to result in the transfer of skills, technologies, and knowledge to the Bhutanese youth which will culminate in the capacity development of Bhutanese people.