HCM CITY -- Less migrant workers can afford to go home this Tet for their year-end reunion with their families because of high inflation, decreased incomes and increased transportation fees.
The number of migrants working at industrial parks (IPs) and export processing zones (EPZs) who can make it home for this year's Tet holiday is half last year's figure, according to statistics from EPZ and IZ authorities in HCM City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.
There are around 700,000 people working at 69 IPs and EPZs in the country's three leading industrial city and provinces. About 500,000 go home for Tet every year. This year, only half of them can afford to travel home.
Dong Nai leads the country with the highest number of IPs, 30, followed by Binh Duong with 26. The southern commercial hub, HCM City, has three EPZs and 10 IPs.
Authorities at the IPs and EPZs in HCM City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai estimate around 80 per cent of the total workers are staying over for Tet, unable to return home.
The average monthly income of workers at IPs and EPZs is between VND2-3 million (US$95-143) and very few of them are able to save anything after living expenses.
Furthermore, transportation fees have almost doubled since early December last year, with the bus and train ticket prices increasing 50 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.
Migrants from northern and central regions account for two third of workers at the IPs and EPZs in HCM City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.
Thanh Hoa is among the thousands of migrants, especially IP and EPZ workers, who are staying in HCM City for the lunar new year holiday which starts this weekend.
Hoa, a Central Quang Nam Province resident who works in the Tan Binh IP, said she has decided to stay in HCM City as she wants to save some money. Last year she did not earn much as there were less shifts and bonuses from her employer.
"I miss home very much but my staying here would help me save some money to send home," said Hoa who lives in a rented accommodation in District 12.
This is the second Tet she has not gone home.
The HCM City Labour Union said that the number of workers remaining in HCM City over Tet has increased by 20 per cent compared to last year, of whom around 22,000 are from Binh Tan District's Tan Tao and Vinh Loc IPs.
To make their workers feel less homesick, enterprises and local labour unions have organised year-end parties for workers and their family members.
The city's Labour Union last week held a meeting for 500 migrant workers who cannot afford to travel home for Tet. Each of them received a gift worth VND300,000 ($14).
Earlier last week, district labour unions of districts 9, 3 and Thu Duc also gave gifts worth VND400,000 ($19) and VND500,000 (nearly $24) each to migrant workers staying in the city over Tet.
The Sai Gon Industry Corporation was among the first companies to hold pre-Tet parties for their migrant workers who are not going home for Tet. Each of them received a gift worth VND200,000 (nearly $10) and VND500,000 in cash as a Tet bonus--VNS