Working hard to answer foreign labour questions

09:38 | 01/09/2011
The spotlight has fallen on vast numbers of unlicensed foreign labourers working across the country. The National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee deputy chairman Dang Nhu Loi tells VIR how the problem can be addressed.
Dang Nhu Loi

Around 70,000 unlicensed foreign labourers are working in the country. Why?

What makes sense here is those unlicenced foreign workers belong to what sorts of labourers and state management functions. Legally, it is not a new issue as it was regulated in the Labour Code. Foreign-invested enterprises and international organisations based in Vietnam have the right to employ foreign labourers following certain conditions.

For instance, these entities can recruit foreigners as skilled manpower and managers for a certain number and time span, and they must present plans to train locals to replace those foreign employees when their work permits expire.

Besides under current laws, foreign labourers working in Vietnam at least three months must obtain permission from competent government agencies in their work localities. Laws are there, so the foreign worker issue in Vietnam can be tackled if we play by the laws.

Local governments found it hard to control foreign workers saying that firms were exploiting legal loopholes through employing labourers for less than three months to evade signing contracts. Is that the case?

illustration photo

The relevant law may have a shortcoming in that it just covers foreign-invested firms and international organisations while ignoring the case foreign contractors winning bids to operate in Vietnam and employing foreign workers.

However, Clause 133 in the Labour Code regulates foreign labourers working for any business entities or organisations in Vietnam must get permission from local governments where they work. If the projects are handled by foreign contractors, their foreign workers must fill up declarations with local governments. Local governments will incur a penalty if the law is not properly enforced.

In fact many foreign labourers working in Vietnam are unlicenced and nobody bears the responsibility. What is your comment?

Our law enforcement is rather low. It is important to define where and who bears the responsibility and issue punishments if their performance leads to any problem. Here local competent bodies in areas with many unlicenced foreign workers must suffer punishments.

By Phan Long

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