|Workers produce fresh coffee beans at a plant run by Thai Hoa Group in Laos. There are currently around 13,500 Vietnamese workers in Laos working on investment projects between the two countries. – VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS) — More and more Vietnamese workers have been going to Laos in recent years to help on investment projects between the two countries. The figure is expected to exceed 20,000 by 2015.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) told a conference early this week that most Vietnamese were skilled, adding that the present number of Vietnamese workers in Laos was about 13,500 people.
According to the Association of Vietnamese investors in Laos, nearly 7,000 were employees of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, a large company that operates in furniture, real estate, football and mining.
Viet Nam Rubber Group has nearly 1,000 workers and the Song Da Corporation about 600.
Reports from Vietnamese enterprises that have invested in Laos show that Vietnamese unskilled workers in Laos are paid an average of US$250 a month while skilled workers receive about $500.
In addition to salary, the workers are also given living away from home allowances. They also benefit from Viet Nam's social and health insurance policy and holiday system.
Tong Hai Nam, deputy director of the Department of Overseas Labour, said the presence of Vietnamese workers in Laos has helped relieve the problem of a labour shortage in the country, especially in the fields of energy, and infrastructure - and helped meet the demand of large investment projects.
He said the strong development of investment co-operation projects in Laos created strong demand for Vietnamese workers.
In addition to workers sent to Laos through mainstream channels, a considerable number come from provinces that share the same border with Laos, such as Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
Nghe An, in particular, sent many workers to Laos as it shared a 419km border with three provinces in Laos - Bolikhamsai, Xieng Khouang and Hua Phan.
Nghe An has more than 50 enterprises involved in the import and export of goods to Laos or are involved in mineral exploitation, wood processing and manufacturing, wine production, steel making, forest exploitation, tourism, small truck businesses, making farm products and consumer goods. Their total investment is said to worth more than $70 million.
Deputy Minister of Labour Nguyen Thanh Hoa said he hoped the signing of a new Labour Co-operation Agreement between the two countries would lead to a supply of Laotian workers for Vietnamese companies in Laos.
He also said Vietnamese companies would back vocational training programmes to help develop quality human resources for Laos. — VNS