Labour migration

Viet Nam tips regional forum on domestic workers issues

The 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour with the theme “Towards Achieving Decent Work for Domestic Workers in ASEAN” coincides with the 6th anniversary of ILO’s Convention on Domestic Workers.

News | 25 October 2017
HANOI (ILO News) – Representatives of Viet Nam’s Government, employers, workers and other stakeholders have called on the ASEAN Member States to ratify ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention and develop specific implementation roadmaps to protect this vulnerable group.

This is one of the recommendations the Vietnamese delegation will bring to a regional forum taking place today in the Philippines to discuss how to realize better and safer jobs for domestic workers in the ASEAN.

The 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour with the theme “Towards Achieving Decent Work for Domestic Workers in ASEAN” coincides with the 6th anniversary of ILO’s convention (Convention 189). This international labour standard adopted by ILO member States in 2011 officially recognizes domestic work as work.

Addressing the national preparatory meeting for the ASEAN forum on 9 October, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep said Viet Nam is considering ratifying the convention by 2020.

Different stakeholders also agreed on the need to have bilateral agreements signed between regional countries on social protection covering migrant domestic workers.

Other recommendations from Viet Nam also include signing bilateral agreements which cover complaint mechanisms to protect the rights of documented and undocumented migrant workers, promoting national legal frameworks to ensure decent work for domestic workers, and developing national competency standards for this work.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam calls on ASEAN Member States to put in place a standard contract for employing domestic workers, have a set of minimum social protection standards for this group, and develop curricula for vocational training programmes for domestic workers.

Recruitment agencies should also improve their awareness and capacity in fair recruitment practices, pre-departure training, supporting migrant domestic workers, and partner selection, while migrant domestic workers themselves should build networks to share experiences.

There are 10 million domestic workers in South-East Asia and the Pacific. More than two million are migrant domestic workers. The vast majority are women.

In Viet Nam, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the number of domestic workers in general and migrant domestic workers in particular is expected to significantly increase in the future. MoLISA estimated that the country will have about 350,000 workers doing this profession by 2020.

Tthe data presented by the Department of Overseas Labour (MoLISA) at the national preparatory meeting, the current major destinations for Vietnamese domestic workers are Taiwan (China), Saudi Arabia, Macau (China) and Cyprus.

By August 2017, there were about 20,000 Vietnamese domestic caregivers in Taiwan with 113 recruitment agencies sending workers there, and nearly 2,300 domestic workers working in Saudi Arabia through 26 agencies. The monthly minimum wage for domestic workers in Taiwan is 17,000 Taiwan dollars (about US$561), and in Saudi Arabia 1,300 Saudi riyal ($347).

Migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, as they are highly dependent on recruiters and employers, work in isolation and lack social networks.

A recent study showed that 61 per cent of all domestic workers in Asia were entirely excluded from labour protections.