BackgroundViet Nam has commenced a revision of the Law on Contract-based Vietnamese Overseas Workers (Law 72). Law 72 is the primary law governing the international migration process and outlines the procedures to support the deployment and management of Vietnamese migrant workers going abroad for work. Law 72 regulates a range of issues including migration fees and related costs, the regulation of recruitment agencies permitted to send workers abroad, licensing systems and monitoring of recruitment practices, legal channels for migration and the rights and obligations of workers and recruitment agencies.
The currently in force law allows charging Vietnamese migrant workers recruitment fees and related costs for service fees, brokerage commission, training fees, deposits and contract performance guarantees. Recruitment fees and related costs negatively affect migration outcomes for Vietnamese migrant workers and businesses in Viet Nam and destination countries.
Recruitment fees and related costs can create situations of debt bondage, which, coupled with deceptive recruitment practices and limited or no access to remedy, exacerbate the vulnerability of migrant workers to forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery offences.
The issue of recruitment fees and costs charged to migrant workers has received increased attention in recent years. At the international level, there has been increased pressure and efforts made to move towards employer pays or zero-fee to migrant worker models of recruitment. Today, the zero-fee and employer pays models which are operating have proven to bring benefits to business, including enabling workers to be more productive, businesses to retain workers longer and create more positive labour migration experiences. With many businesses and countries of destination increasingly requiring ethical recruitment standards, ethical recruitment agencies will become more competitive and can thrive in future migrant labour markets. Recruitment agencies participating in the ILO Feasibility Study of the Employer Pays Model in Viet Nam shared that increasing numbers of recruitment agencies in Viet Nam have been incorporating this model with positive results.
Addressing issues of high fee charging is beneficial to all stakeholders including migrant workers, recruitment agencies, employers and governments, in Viet Nam and destination countries. The Law 72 revision presents an excellent opportunity for Viet Nam to create a competitive advantage for Vietnamese migrant workers through enhancing regulations on recruitment fees and related costs and promote ethical recruitment practices. Efforts have been observed to reduce the fees and costs charged to migrant workers. Different models are to be explored and considered to ensure that no worker has to pay to migrate for work. It is expected that the revised Law 72 will be adopted by the 10th Meeting of the National Assembly in October-November 2020. Until September 2020, a number of public hearings, expert meetings, and consultations with relevant stakeholders will be organized to provide opportunities for the National Assembly, drafters and stakeholders to consider what adjustments need to be made to ensure the Law addresses the main gaps in the current version.
This consultation, organized by ILO and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will provide a platform for multinational businesses and lawmakers to discuss how Law 72 can support sustainable business development and protect Vietnamese migrant workers.
Objectives of the consultation
- Provide the Vietnamese Government the opportunity to hear from multinational companies, global business networks, industry associations, employment and placement services from Viet Nam and key destination countries on how a zero-fee to migrant worker recruitment model might be operationalized to maximize the benefits to employers, recruitment agencies, migrant workers, and Governments
- Provide businesses an opportunity to discuss recommendations to advance legislation to assist in creating a level playing field for ethical businesses to develop and sustain
- Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Vietnamese Government stakeholders including the Drafting Team, Editing Board, and Deputy National Assembly members involved in the Law 72 legislative revision process
- Companies, employers, and suppliers who employ migrant workers
- Global business networks and industry coalitions
- Employment and placement agencies and business bodies in Viet Nam and destination countries.
The consultation will have simultaneous translation in English, Vietnamese and Japanese.
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