Questions remain about how Chinese firm in Mekong Delta imported 2,100 workers

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Chinese workers walk to Duyen Hai 3 Thermopower Plant project in the Tra Vinh Province, which is constructed by several Chinese firms. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Chinese workers walk to Duyen Hai 3 Thermopower Plant project in the Tra Vinh Province, which is constructed by several Chinese firms. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Members of the media, schools and employment agencies in Tra Vinh Province say they weren't notified of vacancies that a Chinese firm sought to fill with 2,163 imported workers.
China Chengda Engineering, a contractor on the Duyen Hai 3 Thermopower Plant project got approval from the provincial government to bring in the workers after saying it could not find Vietnamese employees, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
On November 6 of 2013, Chengda sent a recruitment plan to the provincial People’s Committee and labor department requesting 3,800 employees for a project that would end in 2017.
The company was looking to hire manual laborers in additional to technical experts and managers. The executive positions required university diplomas in construction and English/Chinese fluency.
The company gave the governing body less than two months to fill the positions with locals.
Duong Quang Ngoc, deputy director of the Tra Vinh Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, told the paper his agency forwarded the plan to universities, vocational schools, vocational job placement centers, television stations and newspapers on November 27 (a month before the deadline).
But representatives from the provincial newspaper and the Tra Vinh Vocational Introduction Center told Tuoi Tre they hadn't heard anything about the openings.
Last month, Ngoc's department sent a request for the provincial government to approve Chengda's hiring of 2,163 Chinese laborers for positions that couldn't be filled by locals.
The Tra Vinh government, which pays unemployment benefits to 1,749 locals, approved the request the following day.
Nguyen Thi Hai Van, head of the Employment Department at the labor ministry, told Tuoi Tre all companies working in Vietnam must prioritize the hiring of local staff.
Van said in Chengda's case, the Tra Vinh government must order its subordinate agencies to provide Vietnamese staff to the company.
If all the efforts fail, it can allow the company to hire foreign workers.
In March, Tra Vinh labor authorities discovered 230 illegal Chinese workers at the power plant. More than 100 of them have since registered for work permits; the rest have gone home, Ngoc said.

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