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Work agencies get thumbs up

Update: September, 12/2014 - 08:46
Workers enrol to work abroad in the Phu Yen Job Promotion Centre. Twenty-three per cent of Vietnamese recruitment agencies sending workers abroad have been rated as "top excellent" in an official ranking released yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan

HA NOI (VNS) — Twenty-three per cent of Vietnamese recruitment agencies sending workers abroad were rated as "A1" or "top excellent" in an official ranking published yesterday.

More than 50 per cent of the agencies belonged to group A2, or "excellent", and nearly one fifth received B1 status - "good".

The evaluations were made by the Viet Nam Association of Manpower Supply (VAMAS) on the basis of a Code of Conduct for recruitment agencies.

This was introduced in 2010 with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through the GMS Triangle project funded by the Australian Government.

The Code of Conduct is a voluntary self-regulation tool aimed at improving companies' compliance with Vietnamese legislation and international standards, ensuring better business management and protecting migrant workers from exploitation.

The ranking includes four categories – top excellent and excellent (A1 and A2), good (B1 and B2), satisfactory (C1 and C2) and not satisfactory (D1 and D2).

Nguyen Luong Trao, VAMAS's president said the evaluation was not only about data, assessment and rating but more about persuading and supporting companies to improve work ethics and comply with ILO standards.

Nguyen Ngoc Thach, deputy general director of the SIMCO Song Da Joint Stock Company, which was assessed as an excellent recruiter (A2 ranking), said the programme was objective because assessments were made by gathering feedback from workers, localities and country representative offices in Viet Nam.

He said it benefited recruitment companies of high quality by boosting their reputation.

In the second year of ranking, the number of recruitment agencies opening up for evaluation more than doubled to 47 from 20 in the first year.

Ratings climb

They account for more than 27 per cent of all the agencies in the country and cover half of the total number of contract-based overseas workers. The number of participating agencies is expected to reach 70 in the third year.

Six out of 20 companies rated in the first year climbed up in rankings in the second year by showing improvements whereas five others took a step back due to violations of the code.

Experts said they hoped the rankings would help boost competitiveness among enterprises so that they worked harder to improve their services to workers.

Tro said VAMAS also hoped to expand the code compliance to all recruitment agencies, while noting that this could be difficult because of the voluntary nature of the organisation.

He said he expected more support from State agencies, especially the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, in efforts to expand the evaluation.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thanh Hoa, said the Ministry was committed to supporting efforts to expand the size of evaluation.

"It's a good way to promote fair competition, prevent abusive practices in the recruitment processes, improve the quality of company services, and bring companies to a new height," he added.

Hoa requested VAMAS, through the knowledge it gains from code assessment, to contribute to the revision of the Law for Vietnamese Workers Overseas in 2016. The law was issued in 2006.

He said the new law would be revised so that it better supported Vietnamese workers abroad.

While stressing the need that State agencies and companies take better care of workers, Hia also said it also important that workers take care of themselves, implying the importance of raising awareness and knowledge.

He also said Viet Nam should learn from countries in the region who had experiences in sending workers overseas, such as Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. He said they all sent more workers overseas than Viet Nam.

The flow of Vietnamese workers overseas is expected to increase when the ASEAN Economic Community comes into being at the end of 2015.

"This requires better protection of migrant workers and improved services of recruitment agencies. So self-regulations tools are a win-win solution to both companies and workers," said ILO Viet Nam Director Gyorgy Sziraczki.

"Labour migration should no longer be seen as only a way to reduce poverty. Viet Nam should look more into the quality of recruitment services and the protection of workers to reap the full benefits of international migration."

Viet Nam presently has more than 170 recruitment agencies. It sends about 80,000 workers abroad annually to more than 40 countries. — VNS

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