Thang Long - Hanoi

Labour exporter strands workers
20/03/2012 | 11:19:59
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Dozens of Vietnamese guest workers are stranded in Malaysia after their employer failed to extend their visas, according to the Vietnamese Embassy's Labour Management Board.

The 42 stranded workers are among a group of 69 who went to Malaysia to work under a contract between Viet Ha – Ha Tinh Joint Stock Company (VIHATICO) in central Ha Tinh Province and its Malaysian counterpart, Houseproud Asia, in 2010.

Under the contract, Asmana company has employed the workers to clean hospitals, buildings and public areas in Penang State , around 300km from Malaysia 's capital of Kuala Lumpur , for salaries ranging from 400-500 USD per month.

Three of the workers were arrested by the local immigration agency for having expired visas in early February. The Labour Management Board of the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia asked Asmana to promptly complete procedures to extend visas for the workers and act as guarantee for their release.

Asmana failed to complete the visa extension procedures due to financial issues and only provided the workers with a special pass, deputy director of the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs's Overseas Labour Department Dao Cong Hai told the press on March 19.

Their visas expired in August, 2011.

In late February, Asmana's partner ended the contract to employ the workers and Asmana committed to continue to provide minimum salaries and accommodation for the workers.

Also in a press release sent out on March 19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the Embassy has been working on the case since receiving information that the workers has not been paid or has their work permits renewed.

Embassy representatives met Asmana several times between February 26 and March 7 to ask the company to comply with the terms of the signed labour contract.

MOFA made it clear that the Embassy will continue to do its best to protect the Vietnamese citizens.

A representative from VIHATICO told Vietnam News on March 19 that the company sent a delegation to Malaysia to work on the case.

All of the impacted Vietnamese workers and a number of Nepalese workers in the same plight were sent to a protection centre operated by Penang State 's immigration agency on Saturday while waiting for the case to be handled.

The Embassy's Labour and Expert Management Board also had a working session with the Malaysian Department of Labour and Immigration about the case on March 19.-VNA
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