(Vietnam News/ANN): Southeast Asian migrant workers are no longer just emigrating to developed countries, increasingly they’re moving within the region.
With cross-border labour migration increasing, the question for governments has been how to ensure their citizens enjoy social security benefits abroad.
In light of this, labour authorities from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Việt Nam (CLMTV) are working to guarantee migrant workers’ access to social security when overseas.
They met at the two-day 4th senior official meeting on labour co-operation amongst the CLMTV grouping yesterday in Hà Nội.
Allowing workers enrolled in social security programmes in their original country to claim their benefits in another country has been an issue that demands action.
While there’s no official record of the number of annual Vietnamese migrant workers, Việt Nam’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLISA) said there are upwards of 76,000 Vietnamese people currently working in CLMTV countries.
The majority of Vietnamese workers concentrate in Thailand with 50,000, followed by Laos with 20,000 and Cambodia with 6,000.
“Most of the Vietnamese migrant workers in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are independent individual workers. Only a small number are workers deployed to these countries as part of a contracted project or investment,” said Trần Hải Nam, deputy head of the MoLISA’s social insurance department.
Meanwhile, Việt Nam currently hosts to 1,000 workers from countries in the CLMTV area, with the majority coming from Thailand (950), Myanmar and Cambodia with 25 people and Laos with nine.
Nam said these migrant workers in Việt Nam are legal, with proper work permits and holding mostly manager, executive, technician and expert roles.
Việt Nam’s deputy labour minister Doãn Mậu Diệp expressed his hope that the discussions and presentations within the framework of the conference would bring a clearer understanding of migrant workers’ situation, as well as laws and policies in each country of the CLMTV grouping.
The attention paid to migrant workers would bring “practical benefits to the people and economic development of each country,” Diệp said.
The theme of this meeting is in line with attempts to realise the commitments contained in the joint-statement of CLMTV labour ministers in their second convention in August, 2017.
This meeting is also part of the preparations of agenda for the third ministers’ meeting, slated for Cambodia in 2019, deputy minister Diệp said.
Markus Ruck, an expert on social policy from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said at the conference that despite the significant impacts of migrant workers, their benefit protection concerns have not been properly addressed due to each country’s lax regulations and a dearth of bilateral agreements on the issue.
Delegates from the five member countries shared their country’s social insurance policies and practices for migrant workers, as well as get latest updates from the approval and implementation of ILO’s conventions and recommendations on social protection for migrant workers.