Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs Bui Si Loi spoke with newspaper Nong Thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) about sending disadvantaged young people abroad to work.
In 2009, the Prime Minister signed Decision 71 to send young people from poor districts to work as guest workers. It is reported that after four years' implementation, many people lament that the programme has failed. What do you think?
In my opinion, the PM's decision was very humanitarian. The programme's key objectives are to give vocational skills to young people and then to send them to work abroad as guest workers. If things go according to schedule, this is a good way to ensure social security for people living in poor districts, particularly from ethnic groups.
In the past four years, the Government, local agencies and enterprises have played their parts well. As a result, many young workers have been sent abroad to work. The money they sent back home has helped many families escape from poverty.
However, I have to concede that the number of workers exported in the four years remained very modest while dropouts were high. With lessons learned over the period, I think we should stop chasing numbers and focus on the quality of workers.
In your opinion, what are the reasons for the lack of success?
The primary reason is the low education of workers. As a result, learning a foreign language has become a nightmare for many. So is the learning of a new skill.
Another contributing factor is the world economic downturn and the recent war in Libya. In the past four years, the downturn has seriously affected many countries, particularly our traditional markets like Malaysia and Taiwan.
In addition, ethnic young people like living among themselves and practicing their own traditions. This is why many of them decided to break their labour contracts and go home.
In your opinion, what can be done to make the programme a success?
I think the Department for Management of Guest Workers should come up with measures based on lessons learned in the past four years. As I have mentioned, due to low educational levels and strong resistance to change, the young ethnic workers should be exported as unskilled workers.
If we want a sustainable labour market, the demand, of course will be much higher. For example, workers for South Korea, Japan and Germany should not be recruited from poor districts. The labour ministry has offered Korean language courses to young farmers from poor districts so that they can work on the farms in South Korea. But I don't think the number is big.
To have more country workers qualify as guest workers, it is important to send them to vocational training courses and select the labour markets most suitable to their culture.
What can be done to make the PM's decision a success?
There are two things we must continue to do - improve vocational skills for young people living in poor districts and raise their general knowledge. These are key foundations. — VNS
According to the Department for Management of Guest Workers, by February 2011, thousands of guest workers working in Libya under the PM Decision 71/QD-TTg had to return home early due to civil war. All were repatriated.
Workers received support from the Government, but those from poor districts received 50 per cent more than the others.
In addition, the Bank for Social Policy also agreed to extend the debt payment for poor repatriated workers.