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Vietnamese flock to Thailand, Laos for higher-paying jobs

Mar 04. 2016
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By VIET NAM NEWS
ASIA NEWS NETWO

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THOUSANDS OF labourers from the central Vietnam provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh have flocked to Thailand and Laos to look for higher-paying jobs after Tet (Lunar New Year).

Hoang Ngoc Tan, 23, of Duc Long Commune in Ha Tinh province’s Duc Tho district, said he was hired in Vietnam after graduating from a vocational college, but the income was low, so he considered moving to Laos in hopes of making better wages.

A number of his friends have found jobs in Laos with a monthly income of 9 million dong (Bt14,000), Tan said.

“Once I was there, I would work hard to save money to assist my parents and my marriage later,” he said.

A 24-year-old woman who identified herself as Huong, of Thach Ha district’s Ngoc Son Commune, said that after coming home for Tet, she decided to return to work in Thailand because workers there enjoy higher incomes than in Vietnam.

After paying all expenses, she could save about 7 million dong (Bt11,000) from working as a waitress at a restaurant in Thailand, Huong said.

Nguyen Duc Thuan, head of Ha Tinh province’s immigration office, said the number of people who applied for passports increased sharply on the first working days after Tet (February 15 and 16).

Thuan said the office’s staff had worked hard to handle more than 1,000 applications on February 15, whereas normally they receive 500 people.

Most applicants travel to Laos and Thailand, he added.

Geographical advantages, easy-to-find jobs and a high percentage of overseas Vietnamese in these countries are reasons for the free flow of labour into Thailand and Laos, insiders said.

Vietnamese workers normally enter Thailand on tourist visas and then stay on to work as hired labourers without permits, they said.

Most Vietnamese labourers in Thailand work as household helpers, food servers, and employees in the fishery industry or on construction sites, according to Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer).

On average, a worker there can earn between 6-8 million dong ($269-358) Bt9,500 and Bt12,700 a month. Some can earn wages between 10 million dong ($448) and 12 million dong ($538) Bt16,000-Bt19,000 a month.

This is a considerable sum of money compared with the average monthly salary of a Vietnamese worker, which was 3.8 million dong (Bt6,000) last year.

In the central province of Nghe An, the number of illegal workers heading to neighbouring countries is also growing.

cited Hundreds of people reportedly came to the immigration office to apply for travel documents such as passports and laissez-passer documents after Tet.

To Huu Tri, deputy head of Nghe An province’s immigration office, said the number of applications increased fivefold from the normal rate after Tet.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of labourers working in Thailand, even though illegal migration is a pressing issue in the province.

Statistics from Nghe An province’s police showed that |about 378 people had worked |illegally in Thailand in 2014 |while the province’s Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department office estimated the figure was 800.

These workers are mainly from the districts of Do Luong, Con Cuong, Nghi Loc and Hung Nguyen.

Labour shortage’

While Vietnamese labourers struggle to earn a decent living abroad, many domestic businesses are short of workers.

Nguyen Tien Hoa, director of the Ha Tinh Employment Service Centre, which is under the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said 35 enterprises took part in the first job fair in Ha Tinh province, seeking around 300 employees in the fields of accounting, business management, mechanical engineering, and information technology.

However, Hoa said, a number of businesses found it difficult to find suitable employees, including manual labourers, because few workers registered for jobs at the centre.

“One should not blame local authorities for not informing local people about the issue. As a matter of fact, employees flocked to places where wages are higher,” he told the Nong thon ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.

In hopes of improving their livelihoods, many people continue working abroad illegally despite facing problems like being underpaid, forgoing protections and medical insurance, and having a higher risk of being laid off, Hoa said.

Le Tien Dung, deputy director of Ha Tinh province’s Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs office, said it was difficult to stop labourers from going to Thailand to find jobs, but they should be warned about the risks they might face.

He called for better management of household registration books to prevent local residents from working abroad illegally.

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