Category Archives: Migration Policy in Vietnam

90,558 workers sent abroad in first nine months of 2015, MOLISA Vietnam

The target of sending 90,000 guest workers abroad in 2015 has been fulfilled, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs’ Department of Overseas Labour.

In total, 90,558 Vietnamese workers (of which 28,884 were women) left to work abroad from January to September this year, marking an increase of 108.62% over the same period last year.

In only September, the statistics from enterprises showed that the total number of workers sent abroad was 10,780, of which 4,245 were women.

Chinese Taipei continued to be the largest market for Vietnamese labourers in September (5,805 workers), followed by Japan (2,464 workers), Malaysia (920 workers), Saudi Arabia (798 workers), the Republic of Korea (472 workers), and Macao (China) (30 workers).

In September, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding about the selection and employment of Vietnamese workers in the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.
Germany currently has a high demand for workers to care for the elderly. Vietnam and Germany have had initially strong co-operation in the field, with the target of sending 500-700 Vietnamese orderlies to Germany.

By: Ministry of Labour-Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam

Published on: 2 October 2015

MOU on Labour between Vietnam and Thailand, MOLISA Vietnam

On September 16th, 2015, at the Head Office, the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs and Ministry of Labour in Thailand held the working on labour cooperation. Attending the working were Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep, representatives from the Department of International Cooperation; the Department of Overseas Labour, the Department of Employment, Center of Overseas Labour… and Thailand delegation led by Mr. Thanich Numnoi, Chief Inspector of the Standing Bureau of Ministry of Labour.

At the meeting, the two sides shared the information about the function and duties of each other; Providing information on the field of labour law and management, settlement of labour disputes, social security and labour protection, rehabilitation. The two sides discussed about labour and employment policies as well as the prevention of illegal labour, and human trafficking.
Moreover, the two sides unified on the process, content of implementation the Agreement, such as: propagation and dissemination of the MOU in each country; guidance for involved organizations, businesses in the Agreement; coordination mechanisms between the two sides …
Preparing for the next meeting, MOLISA recommended that Thailand’s Ministry of Labour to provide the legal document relating to foreign workers in general, Vietnamese labours in particular when working in Thailand. Vietnam will provide the legal document, Vietnam’s regulations on sending labourers to work overseas under a contract in English.
Previously, on July 27th, 2015, the Thailand’s Ministry of Labour (on behalf of the Government of Thailand) and MOLISA Vietnam (on behalf of the Government of Vietnam) signed a MOU on Labour Cooperation and Agreement on the sending and receiving labours between the two countries.
Under the program, from September 16th to 18th, Thailand Delegation will work with some units of MOLISA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Delegation will work with DOLAB to discuss about sending the labour overseas; receiving works; The draft of the implementation plan of the Agreement on labour recruitment .

By: Ministry of Labour-Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam

Published on: 19 September 2015

Vietnam approves minimum-wage hike of 15 percent in 2015

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has given the go-ahead to the increase in Vietnam’s minimum monthly salary by between VND250,000-VND400,000 (US$12-$19) starting next year.
Under a government decree that takes effect January 1, 2015, Vietnam will raise the wage floor to VND2.15 million–VND3.1 million ($101.4-$146.2), depending on the location. In August, the National Wage Council, which advises the government on wage policies, proposed that the minimum wages be raised to VND2.42 million-VND3.1million.
Accordingly, in Region I, including urban Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, the minimum wage will be VND3.1 million, or VND400,000 higher than the current threshold.
VND400,000 is the maximum possible increase, exceeding last year’s highest recommended increase of VND350,000, according to labor officials.
In Region Two, including rural Ha Noi, HCMC, Hai Phong plus the capital cities of Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Nha Trang, Can Tho and Rach Gia, the minimum wage will be VND2.75 million.
In Region Three, which entails capital cities and the main districts in the provinces of Hai Duong, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Bac Ninh, Nam Dinh, Phu Yen, Dong Nai and Tien Giang, Ben Tre, the monthly salary will be VND2.4 million.
In Region Four, the least developed areas in Vietnam, the basis salary will be VND2.15 million.
Starting early this year, the minimum wage reached between VND1.9-2.7 million (US$90-128) a month. The variance was determined by the cost of living in a given worker’s location.
Vietnam’s per capita GDP climbed to US$1,890 last year, up 8 percent from 2012, according to the World Bank.
According to a recent survey by the Vietnam Worker and Trade Unions Institute, actual minimum wages range between VND2.5-VND4 million a month, depending on location.
However, even that salary only covers 69-77 percent of a Vietnamese person’s basic living costs, according to the survey, which polled 1,500 workers in 12 cities and provinces during the first half of this year.
Up to 13 percent of workers said their salaries do not cover their basic living costs, 25 percent said they had to spend carefully and 50 percent said their salary only affords the most basic standard of living.
Vietnam’s economy, which recorded growth of 5.42 percent last year, is expected to expand 5.8 percent in 2014, in line with a government target. The Southeast Asian country is expected to keep annual inflation at a rate below 5 percent, or about 2 percentage points below a government target.
Both foreign and local companies often lament that minimum wage increases will hit their operations. They warn any further wage hikes will cause grave consequences on Vietnam’s competitiveness in the near term, adding it needs to be considered “very carefully”.
Analysts acknowledge that Vietnam’s abundance of cheap labor has played an increasingly pivotal role in wooing foreign firms looking to set up overseas manufacturing operations in a country with a population of 90 million. This edge appears to be working well in the context of rising labor costs in China and political mayhem in Thailand.
But the analysts also say the bottom line is that competing in terms of low wages is a risky business and should only be considered an edge in the short-term for a developing country like Vietnam. The biggest challenge for the country is to ensure that the quality of its labor force improves steadily, they say.
“In the short-run, foreign direct investment may help create new jobs and attract redundant workers from rural areas. In the longer-run, however, low wages in industry may contribute to increased relative poverty,” said Pietro Masina, an associate professor of economics at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” in Italy.
By: Thanh Nien News

Getting severance will be tougher for foreign migrant workers, The Hankyoreh

Recent measure means workers have to return home before getting their severance pay

Van Thanh posted a photo of his handwritten statement on Apr. 21 to a community Facebook page for Vietnamese people living in South Korea. The 26-year-old migrant worker from Vietnam, who lives in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, wrote, “After July, all foreign workers can only receive severance pay (departure guarantee insurance) from their own country after they’ve returned home. How are we supposed to get it at home when there are so many people who can’t even get it here in South Korea?”

In 2003, the National Assembly responded to a problem of foreign workers not receiving severance pay by enacting the Act on the Employment Etc. of Foreign Workers. The legislation required employers to enroll in departure guarantee insurance in lieu of severance pay.

But an amendment made to the law on Dec. 31 of last year added a new clause stating that this insurance would only be paid “within 14 days after the departure date.” The amendment was sponsored by Saenuri Party (NFP) lawmaker Kim Sung-tae and others to prevent workers from staying in South Korea illegally. Once the amended law goes into effect on July 29, workers will only be able to receive severance pay after returning home.

To date, workers have been able to receive the payout within three days of leaving their job, regardless of whether they exit the country. Even workers who changed companies midway through their stay were able to receive full severance pay from previous employers after they returned home.

Now groups working for migrant worker rights are upset about the belated news of the amendment. Many are worried workers will be unable to receive all the money they are owed.

“A lot of people can’t even get their severance pay when they stay in South Korea,” said Van Thanh. “That’s only going to become more difficult once we’re back in Vietnam.”

“You need to look at the facts of what migrant workers face when you’re making policy,” he added.

Another sore issue, however minor the amounts involved, has to do with the transaction fees incurred when making wire transfers. Also, the departure guarantee insurance only covers basic pay, without consideration for overtime or nighttime work. Workers are in for more of a hassle making requests in cases where there are discrepancies between their actual severance pay and insurance costs.

“All they would need to do is request the difference between the actual severance pay and the insurance during their stay, before they leave,” a Ministry of Employment and Labor official said on condition of anonymity on Apr. 13.

But while the ministry is suggesting the problem is not serious, others are expressing more concern.

“Even now, 36% of foreign workers don’t even know if they’re enrolled in departure guarantee insurance, let alone how to request the difference from actual severance pay,” said Jung Young-sup, secretary-general of the Migrant Worker Campaign Support Association. “If they can only receive it after they’ve gone home, then we can expect to see more and more workers being hurt by this.”

Figures released in Aug. 2010 by Hong Hee-deok, a former lawmaker for the Democratic Labor Party, showed 23.7 billion won (US$22.9 million) in unpaid departure guarantee insurance between 2008 and 2010, amounting to 12% of the total. More recently, the Ministry of Employment and Labor released figured in Sept. 2013 showing unclaimed insurance payouts of 17.5 billion won (US$16.9 million). 11% of foreign workers were found to be not enrolled in the system.

The main problem, observers said, is the fact that the law was amended to delay payment simply because of concerns about migrants staying in the country illegally.

“Severance pay is a basic right that workers are entitled to when they leave their job, and it’s also a property right,” said Yun Ji-yeong, an attorney with the GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation. “To apply different conditions to foreign workers is to discriminate between them and domestic workers.”

These concerns were echoed in a legislative review report by the National Assembly Environment and Labor Committee last December.

“Not only does [the law] restrict payment rights in a way that the Labor Standards Act does not, but it is questionable whether it would actually reduce the number of people staying in the country illegally,” the report stated.

Migrant worker groups are currently planning to shortly file for an injunction against the law and lodge a constitutional appeal.

By Kim Min-kyung, The Hankyoreh

Published on 14 April 2014

Vietnam tightens control of overseas employment, Thanh Nien News

Vietnam has issued new regulations standardizing overseas work contracts and setting ceilings for deposits that labor agencies require from workers before sending them to work abroad.

With the support of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has issued two circulars, which will take effect December 1, to protect guest workers and minimize risks for labor agencies.

“The two circulars are essential as they help labor companies reach specific standards in signing contracts with international partners and workers to minimize risks for both companies and workers,” Nguyen Luong Trao, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Manpower Supply, said.

“It’s an important factor that contributes to sustainable enterprise development and safe migration.”

Under the new rules, Vietnamese recruitment agencies will no longer be able to impose their own conditions on contracts. They will have to follow standard conditions, one of which requests companies to refund deposits to workers if they fail to send them abroad.

The standard contract also requires details such as references to a specific job, name and location of the receiving company, and establishes clear responsibilities of all parties, and procedures for dispute settlement in an effort to protect migrant workers in case of contract termination.

“Circular 22 prevents recruitment agencies from using provisions that benefit themselves while minimizing those in favor of migrant workers,” Max Tunon, coordinator of the ILO’s TRIANGLE project, said. TRIANGLE aims to make labor migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region safer.

The other – Circular 21 – prevents recruitment agencies from requiring unreasonable deposits from workers applying to go abroad.

Tran Van Tu, director of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor’s Policy Division, said the new circulars will help tackle unhealthy competition among labor agencies and “black costs” that workers have to pay to go abroad.

“But to achieve those goals, State authorities will need to step up inspections of labor companies,” he said.

Currently, some 170 recruitment agencies are operating in Vietnam, sending 80,000 Vietnamese workers abroad every year.

By Thanh Nien News

Published on 14 November 2013

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