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    Q&A session heats up with unemployment and foreign workers
    Update :Wednesday, 6-17-2009

    VietNamNet Bridge – As the first cabinet member answering National Assembly deputies on June 11 in the morning, Minister of Labour Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan admitted that over 50 percent of foreign workers in Vietnam don’t have work permits. The Minister proposed a Law on Foreign Workers.


    Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.


    Appearing in a charming ao dai, Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan opened the Question and Answer (Q&A) session. She received 22 written questions.


    Before the session, NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong said that questions for Ngan focus on the employment situation in the economic slowdown, the labour market, newly graduating students facing difficulties in seeking jobs, child labour, Vietnamese guest workers and foreign workers in Vietnam.


    Deputy Vo Thi Ly asked Minister Ngan to explain why local labourers lack jobs while a large number of foreign workers are in Vietnam and to talk about measures for this situation.


    Ngan said that the ministry found through a survey that foreign workers have entered Vietnam as travellers or to visit their friends and relatives but they then changed their purposes to work in Vietnam. Less than 50 percent of foreign labourers have work permits.


    “Many foreign workers come to Vietnam but they have made remarkable contributions to many projects, especially when many contractors could not recruit suitable Vietnamese workers. The solution for this situation is granting work permits to foreign workers who meet Vietnamese regulations and not extending visas of those who fail to meet the conditions. It is also necessary to strengthen control of residency,” Ngan said.


    “I don’t understand, why do you mention the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in connection with foreign workers in Vietnam?” asked Deputy Nguyen Ngoc Dao?


    “I affirm I am accountable for labour management. I didn’t intend to pass the responsibility to others but the solution for this situation requires the combination of the three ministries,” Ngan answered.


    Deputy Nguyen Duc Hien questioned Ngan about the difference in statistics about the numbers of workers who have lost their jobs at home and abroad.


    “The statistics are different because the increase of unemployed people. Moreover, only 48 of 63 provinces and cities have reported to our ministry about job-loss situations,” she said.


    According to Ngan, the number of workers who don’t have labour contracts is very high, around 60 percent, so it is very difficult to know where they work, if they have or have not lost their jobs.


    “I ask the National Assembly to urgently pass a minimum wage law, an employment law and a law on foreign workers in Vietnam,” she said.


    Meanwhile, Deputy Bui Dang Dung said that because of unsuitable standards on poverty, many poor families are rejected from the list of households able to benefit from social welfare policies. “When will we have new criteria on poverty?” he asked.


    Ngan said her ministry has researched new criteria on poverty but because of price slippage, the criteria are no longer appropriate.


    “We will submit to the government the new criteria on poverty to help the poor,” she said.


    Answering Deputy Nguyen Lan Dung’s question about the shift of labour from agriculture and service, Ngan said that her ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had submitted to the government a vocational training scheme for rural workers.


    This scheme will run for 12 years, with a total investment of 32.6 trillion ($1.81 billion). Under this programme, one million rural workers will be trained. Ngan said this scheme is effective and cheap because on average, each of the 63 provinces and cities will have to invest around 43 billion ($2.38 million) a year in vocational training.


    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat added that under this scheme, rural labourers will be trained in 76 kinds of jobs. Of 1 million rural labourers, 700,000 will no longer do farm work while 300,000 will be trained to serve modern agriculture.


    Related to the target of creating 1.7 million jobs in 2009, Ngan admitted that this goal will not be achieved this year.


    “The change in the gross domestic product (GDP) target will affect the creation of new jobs. If GDP grows 5 percent, 1.45 million new jobs is a high figure. We cannot achieve 1.7 million new jobs as expected,” she said.


    Commenting about Ngan’s part, NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong said that she received 22 written questions before the session and 34 direct questions during the session from 15 deputies. Ngan’s answers were short, clear and serious.



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