Please note the following points with regard to the application for Foreign Workers (FWs) work permits:
- DOL approves the FWs work permits according to the Guideline for Recruitment of Professional/Skilled Foreign Workers during COVID-19 (https://www.molhr.gov.bt/molhr/?p=18758)
- For the Private construction, FWs work permits shall be approved for those construction approvals issued before March 20, 2020. The construction activities that started after March 20, 2020, will not be accorded the FWs work permit approval until further notice. This rule doesn’t apply to the Hydropower Projects. The prioritization is to expedite the completion of the construction activities that had started before the covid-19 pandemic.
3. The Turn Around Time (TAT) for the approval of a foreign worker permit is about a week unlike during the pre-covid situation (TAT of 24 hours). The TAT has increased due to the (1) need to verify the details of FWs and (2) DOL have to continue with the manual verification of documents until the LabourNet System revamping is completed. The LabourNet System is being revamped as a part of MoLHR’s MIS System revamping. It may take until February 2022. The current approval procedures are as follows:
i. The details of FWs requested by employers/FWRAs are punched manually from the LabourNet into google sheet. The process takes minimum of two days and even more when number of FWs is huge.
ii. The same details are compiled and forwarded to the Department of Immigration (DOI)/Regional Immigration Offices (RIOs) for the verification. This process takes another two days or more.
iii. DOL segregates the list of FWs verified by DoI/RIOs and approves the work permits as per temporary entry zones in line with the Department of Immigration’s notification issued dated September 1, 2021 https://www.doi.gov.bt/?p=2013&lang=en
4. The FWs application can get rejected when the following documents are not attached as below:
i. A valid Voter Card /Passport,
ii. Dully filled Employer Undertaking Form available in the MoLHR website,
iii. Dully filled Excel sheet available in Labour Net System,
iv. Notarized qualification certificate for professionals,
v. If FWs permits are applied for irrelevant job categories or closed job categories, and,
vi. If there is invalid case.
Note: Invalid case can be loosely defined as those FWs who have not properly exited when previously leaving the country. An employer has to contact the Department of Immigration for clarification. After clearing the invalid work permits, the employer can resubmit the application online for the approval.
5. After DOL has approved the work permit, an employer can contact the Regional/Dzongkhag Covid-19 Task Force for the approval of allocation of quarantine facilities as per the zoning system’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to facilitate the import of foreign workers https://www.molhr.gov.bt/molhr/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/SOP-to-import-FWs-through-the-Zoning-SystemFinal.pdf
6. The Department of Labour is doing everything possible to expedite the approval of foreign workers. The processes have become a little complex and tedious due to the need to go through multiple players/agents during the pandemic. Sometimes, some issues that emerge are beyond our control, complicating our service delivery. We hope the public will understand if we fail to provide the FWs approvals as per your expectations. If what we do doesn’t meet your expectations, please understand us. Covid-19 has affected everyone. No matter what, we will try our best to the extent possible. Thank you for your cooperation!