Labour migration

New pre-departure curriculum makes workers less vulnerable when working abroad

The curriculum is now applied to nearly one fourth of all recruitment agencies in Viet Nam that recruit migrant workers to work in Taiwan (China).

News | 03 September 2016
HANOI (ILO News) – ILO and the Department of Overseas Labour (DOLAB) have rolled out the first-ever training curriculum for migrant workers going to Taiwan (China) to reduce their vulnerability and help them benefit more from labour migration process.

Nearly one fourth of all recruitment agencies that recruit migrant workers to work in Taiwan are now applying the new ILO-DOLAB curriculum “Pre-departure training for migrant workers going to Taiwan (China)” after it was introduced in late June.

“This is the first time participatory training methods in combination with practical contents for low-skilled workers have been introduced to 30 major agencies sending migrant workers to Taiwan (China)”, said DOLAB Deputy Director Tong Hai Nam. “We hope that this curriculum will be soon widely applied to all recruitment agencies to minimize risks for workers and reduce contract-breaching cases as well as irregular workers in Taiwan.”

Taiwan (China) is now the most popular destination for Vietnamese migrant workers, accounting for 70 per cent of those going to work abroad in 2015. Over 130 recruitment companies are allowed to place workers in this destination.

“The new teaching methods have bettered the preparation for workers before departure, minimizing risks for them and save a great deal of time and efforts of agencies in dealing with workers’ problems, and improving the effectiveness of the business,” said Bui Thi Tuyen, language and orientation training manager of TRAENCO, a recruitment agency applying the new curriculum.

The majority of Vietnamese workers in Taiwan do manufacturing work. However, there has been an increased demand for domestic work as Taiwan (China) lifted the ban on receiving Vietnamese migrant domestic workers and care givers in 2015. In the first half of this year, nearly 2,500 domestic workers set off to Taiwan. Other migrant workers are mainly employed in fishing.

Inadequate preparation can place migrant workers in vulnerable situations. These include difficulties in settling into their new working and living situation, working in hazardous environment, non-payment or underpayment of salary, contract substitution or abuse and exploitation.

“An effective way to safeguard migrant workers’ rights is to provide access to comprehensive information on living and working conditions abroad and workers’ rights during their pre-departure orientation,” said Nguyen Thi Mai Thuy, national co-ordinator of the TRIANGLE project which promotes safe labour migration in the ASEAN.

Developed by ILO and DOLAB, the new pre-departure curriculum includes information on workers’ rights and responsibilities, the destination territory’s culture, laws and policies, and how to access support services and complaints mechanisms, send money home, return and reintegration. The curriculum uses a participatory training methodology which includes discussions, brainstorming, case studies and role plays to better engage learners.

Viet Nam’s laws now require that workers take 74 hours of pre-departure training delivered by recruitment agencies prior to their departure.

The importance of the provision of pre-departure training has been acknowledged at the ASEAN region through recommendations made at the 7th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in 2014.