MMN Releases Proceedings of the Consultation on Labour Migration from Vietnam to Japan

On 24 July 2019, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) organised the Consultation Meeting on Labour Migration from Vietnam to Japan in Hanoi, Vietnam. The consultation provided a platform for representatives of different stakeholder groups to exchange information about recruitment procedures from Vietnam to Japan, and jointly explore interventions and strategies to improve protections provided to migrant workers. The workshop was organised in anticipation of increased labour migration from Vietnam to Japan as Japan seeks to plug gaps in its rapidly shrinking labour force. Under the Technical Internship Training Programme (TITP), Vietnam is Japan’s largest source of migrant workers, and numbers are expected to increase following the Japanese government’s announcement that it intends to welcome an additional 345,000 migrant workers within five years. To facilitate this policy change, Japan amended its strict immigration laws and added a new “Specified Skilled Worker” (SSW) visa category. In July 2019, Japan signed a bilateral Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Vietnam to facilitate the implementation of the new scheme.

Given these developments, MMN gathered a diverse group of over 50 participants to exchange views, including representatives of the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, the Department of Overseas Labour (DOLAB) under the Ministry of Labour-Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in Vietnam, the Vietnam Association of Manpower and Supply (VAMAS), intergovernmental organisations, civil society organisations (CSO), and recruitment agencies.

The day’s plenaries addressed a number of topics, including challenges faced by migrant workers throughout the migration cycle, issues related to high recruitment fees involved in migration from Vietnam to Japan, international standards on the collection of recruitment fees and other related costs, the roles of the governments of Vietnam and Japan and recruitment agencies in supporting migrant workers, and the trajectories and concerns surrounding migration to Japan under the newly created SSW scheme. Following the plenaries, participants discussed the opportunities and challenges involved in the migration of workers from Vietnam to Japan, specifically the themes of developing human resources, achieving decent work, and facilitating ethical recruitment practices. The consultation ended with participants collectively developing recommendations to improve existing migration mechanisms, improve channels of information dissemination, enhance international cooperation, and expand support for migrant returnees.

Click here to read the full proceedings.

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