Sunday, October 23 2016


Ethnic labourers flock to China, Laos

Update: August, 28/2015 - 09:16
Thousands of labourers from north-west provinces have worked illegally in foreign countries. Every year about 4,000 labourers left the province for China. — Illustrative photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Thousands of labourers from north-west provinces have worked illegally in foreign countries.

According to statistics from Lao Cai province's department of labour, invalids and social affairs, every year about 4,000 labourers left the province for China.

Quang Van Tinh, who lives in Muong Ang district's Bung Lao commune, still felt angry when recalling his time in China.

After enticement from a "broker" Tinh and his wife left their children at home with their parents and went to work in China.

"They [the brokers] cheated us. They convinced us to go to China without telling us how much money we would earn," he said to

"Every month, they gave us thousands of Vietnamese dong. It wasn't not enough to cover our expenses," Tinh said, adding that they had to work 12 hours a day.

After four months working there, the couple decided to return home with just VND300,000 (US$13.3). Now they were struggling to pay a VND5 million ($222) loan they took out before leaving for China, a large amount for families like Tinh's. They also had to pay VND750,000 ($33) monthly interest for the loan.

Chao Lao Su, a resident of Bat Xat district's Den Sang Commune, is another illegal worker.

Su, 24, graduated from the University of Water Resources last year.

While waiting to get his degree, he followed other villagers to illegally work in China. He had an accident which left him unconscious for several days. When he awoke in hospital he found he had lost his right arm.

"I had intended to apply for jobs in other provinces to get experience before returning to Lai Chau province. Now it's going to be harder to get a job," he said.

In Dien Bien province over 700 labourers are reported to have illegally migrated to foreign countries for jobs in the first seven months of this year.

These workers are mainly from the districts of Muong Nhe, Nam Po, Muong Ang, Tuan Giao, Dien Bien Dong.

A lack of land for cultivation is believed to be the reason for the illegal flow of labour to other countries.

Many people continue working illegally abroad despite not being payed or having serious accidents, as they don't know the law in the country they're in.

Hoang Van Hai, deputy head of Dien Bien Dong district, said the district's ethnic Mong, Dao and Thai people have close relationships with ethnic people in neighbouring countries such as China and Laos. Illegal migration and immigration is a pressing issue in the district, he said.

He called for measures to be initiated to help local residents escape poverty and prevent them from working illegally abroad.

Gov't support

There is a lack of connection between the supply and demand for jobs regarding overseas labourers, experts warned.

While overseas labourers struggle to find suitable jobs after finishing their contracts, many domestic businesses are short of skilled workers.

Overseas labourers said they got little information on foreign owned businesses in Viet Nam, where they are in demand. To earn a living, they often worked in small businesses or worked for a domestic enterprise where they were over-qualified.

Dong Van Quang, a worker from Yen Bai Province, is an example.

He earned $2,000 a month when he worked as a construction worker in South Korea. Despite his experience, he couldn't find a job after a years work. Then, he accepted a job offered by a recruiter in Ha Noi for VND12 million ($533.

Do Dinh Lau, deputy director of Transon Viet Nam Co.Ltd, said he appreciated the skills of labourers who once worked in South Korea.

The company is always in need of around 1,000 skilled workers with a salary of up to $500 per person, he said.

To help overseas labourers returning home find jobs easier, the Centre for Overseas Labour has co-ordinated with employment service centres in organising job fairs.

Ha Noi Employment Service Centre alone has organised four job fairs for labourers returning from South Korea with nearly 4,000 people interviewed. — VNS

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