Vietnam struggles to solve problems facing its laborers in Angola

TN News

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No labor exporter has been deemed qualified to bring workers to Angola, placing thousands of Vietnamese laborers in the southern African nation in illegal, unstable situations, Vietnam's vice minister of labor said.

Nguyen Thanh Hoa, vice minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said Angola is a market with high potential, especially after having received more investment from China and other countries recently.

But no companies have managed to find contracts that guarantee workers stable jobs in safe working conditions, which can provide for their daily life requirements, Hoa said.

He said the ministry has been sending people to check the market for four years now but has yet to sign a labor agreement with Angola, which also has not signed such a deal with any other country.

Reports from Vietnam's embassy in Angola showed that around 40,000 Vietnamese are working in the country, most of them switching jobs frequently. Most arrived in Angola on tourist visas, and a few have managed to obtain working visas, possibly through some illegal measures.

The embassy also reported that Vietnamese have been thrown out on the street after their short, unofficial contracts expired, and that many of them are dealing with illness and hunger while receiving no protection from local authorities as their presence in Angola is technically illegal.

Hoa said the high-income job of repairing houses, which earns between US$1,500-1,700 a month, has drawn many Vietnamese laborers to the Angolan market.

"As the government, we must think about the long-term plan. It's necessary to look into contracts for the market carefully."

He said the ministry is checking how the Vietnamese laborers had arrived in Angola and would punish any labor exporters responsible and that firms sending workers to Africa will be forced to take responsibility for their safety and safe return home, while those going on their own will receive help from the ministry.

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The official said local authorities should warn their residents about the risks of entering into unlicensed labor contracts.

He also said the ministry has received applications from local labor exporter saying they can win contracts with Vietnamese employers in Angola.

The International Labor Organization recently criticized Vietnam for failing to generate jobs for those who work overseas when they return home, which is one of the reasons for the high rate of workers who overstay their visas, which in turn, has motivated many overseas markets to shun Vietnamese laborers in general.

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