Out-migration

Out-migration from Bhutan is minimal, consisting mostly of Bhutanese students receiving a tertiary education abroad on merit-based scholarships. According to government statistics released in 2008, there were about 3,200 Bhutanese scholarship students enrolled in various institutes in India and abroad (Bhutan, Ministry of Education 2008). These numbers, however, do not provide a complete picture, as there is no systematic data collection to capture the growing number of students studying abroad under private funding. Given its geographical proximity, India is the preferred destination. Some of the other host countries for Bhutanese students are Australia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America (Bhutan Ministry of Education 2008). Most of the students return to Bhutan, but some of them opt to take advantage of job opportunities overseas.

The number of Bhutanese seeking job opportunities abroad is not usually documented but is believed to be small. According to data from the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan, remittances from non-resident Bhutanese working in countries other than India totalled $1.54 million in fiscal year 2006 (UNDP, UNAIDS and ILO 2010). Some Bhutanese reportedly move to India due to better economic prospects. Free movement is permitted between the two countries without the need to present a passport or visa, making it difficult to obtain data on the number of Bhutanese working in India.