Deputy Labor Minister Nguyen Thanh Hoa has ordered that unlicensed Chinese workers in the southern province of Ca Mau are expelled if their employer fails to complete necessary procedures.
The order was issued after local media earlier this week reported more than 1,000 Chinese laborers were working illegally at the Ca Mau Fertilizer Plant.
They are among more than 1,700 workers that the project's Chinese contractor Wuhuan Engineering Corporation (WEC) has employed for the project.
In an interview with the VnExpress newswire, Nguyen Tien Hai, vice chairman of Ca Mau People's Committee, said this wasn't the first time they had found illegal foreign workers at the plant.
The provincial labor department's inspectors have checked the plant many times and always found unlicensed Chinese workers, with their numbers increasing every time, Hai said.
However, as the inspectors only fined the contractor VND20 million (US$961) for the violation each time under current laws, the contractor was not deterred from repeating it.
He said the province's authorities once proposed that the Ministry of Public Security expels more than ten Chinese workers without licenses from the project.
Work on the US$900 million plant a joint venture between the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), the WEC and the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) officially started in 2009.
The plant is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
It is part of the Ca Mau Gas-Power-Fertilizer Complex which includes a gas pipeline, urea plant and thermal power plant in Khanh An Commune, U Minh District.
Last week, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that 178 of 310 Chinese workers at the Nhan Co alumina plant in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong have been working for four months without licenses.
It said 190 Chinese workers, meanwhile, could not produce any certification of their qualifications although they were registered by Chinese contractor Chalieco as "highly skilled workers."
Local authorities later asked the workers to submit their certificates of qualifications and criminal records within two months from August 5, failing which they would be expelled.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Hai Van, deputy chief of the Ministry of Labors, Invalids and Social Affairs' employment department, said the ministry is waiting for provinces to report on Chinese workers employed at local plants.