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Work Permit in Bhutan

Is a Work Permit needed in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, a work permit is essential for managing the employment of foreign nationals and ensuring that it aligns with the country’s labor and immigration policies. Given Bhutan’s commitment to maintaining its cultural heritage and social harmony, the work permit system plays a crucial role in protecting local employment and ensuring that foreign workers are only hired for positions that genuinely require their specific skills and expertise, which are not readily available within the local workforce.

One of the primary reasons for requiring work permits in Bhutan is to safeguard the local labor market. By prioritizing job opportunities for Bhutanese citizens, the government ensures that economic benefits primarily support the local population. This approach is particularly important in a country with a small population and a growing need to provide employment for its young people.

Additionally, Bhutan uses the work permit system to monitor and regulate the number of foreign workers entering the country. This regulation helps maintain a balanced labor market and ensures that foreign workers contribute positively to the economy without overwhelming local resources. The process includes thorough background checks and verification of qualifications, ensuring that only those who meet the necessary professional standards are allowed to work in Bhutan. This scrutiny helps maintain high standards in the workforce and supports national security.

The work permit system also ensures that foreign workers are employed under fair and lawful conditions, protected by Bhutanese labor laws. This protection is vital for preventing exploitation and abuse, ensuring that foreign workers receive appropriate wages, working conditions, and benefits. By integrating foreign workers into the national labor framework, the work permit process ensures that they contribute to social security and the broader economy.

About The Bhutan Job Market

Work Permit in Bhutan

Number of Expats:

No data found

Popular Industries for Expats:

Teaching, Mining, Tourism, Agriculture

Types of Bhutan Work Visa Available

In Bhutan, the work visa and work permit are two separate documents. A foreign employee must have both a work visa and a work permit to work in the country. A work visa is valid for the employees who are planning to enter the country for work, whereas a work permit is required to perform labor within the borders of Bhutan. 

The government of Bhutan issues the work permit for one year for just one time. Once the permit expires, the applicants have to reapply annually to maintain their legal employment status. In addition, if an employee has extended their work permit for three years, the permit holder must leave the country for at least six months and then they can reapply.

Requirements for a Bhutan Work Permit

The foreign employees interested in working in the country will be required to provide a list of documents to get approval for the Bhutan work visa and work permit. As an employer, you can help your employees and ease their process of application. 

For Bhutan Visa 

– One must have a valid passport 
– One must have approval from the department of labor 
– One must have an employer undertaking form 
– One must have a medical fitness certificate 
– One must have a signed declaration of the compliance

For Bhutan Work Permit 

– One must have approval from the department of labor, the human resources and the Ministry of Labor.
– One must have a duly completed work permit application form. 
– One must have a valid employer undertaking. 
– One must have a valid employee undertaking. 
– For a Bhutan work permit for Indians, one must have a copy of their passport or voter identity card with an employment entry permit. 
– For nationals of other countries, one must have a copy of their passport with an employment visa.
– One must submit a medical fitness certificate that is granted by a competent government-certified medical officer in Bhutan. 
– One must submit a passport-sized photograph. 
– One must submit original or notarized copies of the academic certificate. This is only for nationals of Bangladesh, Maldives and India.

Apart from these documents, there can be other documents required during the assessment.

Bhutan Work Permit Application Process

Before the employees enter Bhutan, they have to apply for an employment entry visa either online or at the nearest consulate. Some nationals can receive an entry visa on arrival, including:

  • Indian citizens
  • Nationals from Maldives & Bangladesh 
  • Nationals from Thailand and Switzerland with Diplomatic passports 
  • Nonnationals holding a SAARC visa exemption sticker   

To acquire a Bhutan work visa, the foriegn nationals require approval from the Ministry of Labor. One has to submit a completed application form along with a copy of the valid passport. As an employer, you have to grant permission from the Ministry on behalf of your employee. 

Upon arrival, the employment visa holders must file biometric data with the Department of Immigration. After the foriegn national receives a clearance to enter the borders, they can submit an application for a Kingdom of Bhutan work permit. The employees must submit all the required documents along with the application to the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, which falls under the Department of Immigration.  

For any nonnational employee who stays longer than a month, approval is required from the Ministry of Labor. As an employer, one is responsible for getting approval before the employee applies for the entry visa. 

After submitting the application to the Ministry, the approval process starts, and the employer must present an explanation for hiring a foriegn employee. Next, the Ministry of Labor submits the documentation and employee passport number for verification to the Department of Immigration. Then, they decide whether the application of the nonnational employee works with the current immigration laws. 

Your nonnational employee’s application can be denied if the Department of Immigration thinks that it doesn’t line up with current laws and requirements of the country. 

How Multiplier Can Help 

We’re a global EOR solution on a mission to make the onboarding process hassle-free for companies like you and help to onboard and manage talent from different parts of the world. We have local entities in over 150+ countries. Our HR suites are designed and developed by our in-house experts to provide all-in-one solutions to our users. 

With our SaaS-based solutions, you can raise a request for a Bhutan work visa and work permit. Our team of experts will simplify your task by managing the entire process, from the processing time to the document checklist to the costs. During the whole process, you will be kept notified about the progress.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Bhutan offers several types of work visas and permits. Foreign employees need both a work visa and a work permit to work legally. Work visas allow entry into Bhutan for work purposes, while work permits are required to perform labor within Bhutan. The government issues work permits for one year, and they must be renewed annually. After three years, the permit holder must leave Bhutan for six months before reapplying​.

Requirements for a Bhutan work permit include:

    • Valid passport
    • Approval from the Department of Labor
    • Employer and employee undertaking forms
    • Medical fitness certificate
    • Passport-sized photographs
    • Notarized academic certificates (for nationals of Bangladesh, Maldives, and India)

Additionally, specific documents are needed for visa applications, such as a signed declaration of compliance and an employer undertaking form​

The application process involves:

  • Applying for an employment entry visa online or at the nearest consulate
  • Approval from the Ministry of Labor
  • Submitting a completed application form and a valid passport
  • Filing biometric data with the Department of Immigration upon arrival
  • Submitting all required documents for the work permit to the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, under the Department of Immigration

The processing time can vary, but generally, it takes a few weeks to get the work permit approved. It is recommended to start the application process well in advance to accommodate any potential delays​

Yes, the Department of Immigration can deny an application if it does not comply with current immigration laws and requirements. Employers must ensure all documentation is correct and justified to avoid denial​

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