A vendor sells fruits to passers-by (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Support for migrant labourers needs to be multiplied in Ho Chi Minh City as a number of problems have been seen in the group that constitutes a crucial part of the southern economic hub’s workforce, heard a workshop on December 17.

Experts said migrant labourers are a key workforce source for a number of occupations in urban areas, helping improve the livelihoods of many rural families. However, overloaded infrastructure and public services in cities and a shortage of migration policies are exposing migrants to more vulnerability.

Unsustainable employment, low income, and limited access to social welfare policies are difficulties often facing migrant labourers, especially those in the informal sector, they added.

The unemployment rate among migrant workers was five times higher than the average. Fifteen percent of migrant workers in the formal sector and 52 percent of those in the informal sector did not have stable employment. Basic salary has also not satisfied their minimum daily demand, according to a survey of the Southern Institute of Social Sciences (SISS).

Up to 99 percent of migrant labourers in the informal sector were not covered by social insurance given the voluntary insurance premium exceeded their affordability and the insurance type has a few benefits.

Meanwhile, some 76 percent of those in the informal sector did not buy health insurance, only 7.7 percent of children of migrant families were sent to public nursery schools, and 12 percent of them went to public kindergartens. Up to 85 percent of migrant labourers lived in rented accommodation with poor living conditions.

Nguyen Thi Minh Chau, an SISS labour specialist, said 87.3 percent of migrant workers in the informal sector did know about where they could get information and consultation about labour laws and the Law on Social Insurance. Nearly 80 percent of them did not participate in any community activities at their living places.

Those facts demonstrate flaws in the group’s access to social welfare, she stressed.

Over the last five years, some domestic and foreign social organisations have carried out initiatives, programmes and projects to assist migrant workers. Those activities have been organised under various forms, and many of them have proved effective, helping facilitate migrants’ access to social welfare and livelihoods.

At the workshop, several fruitful support models were highlighted such as the domestic workers’ club in Da Kao ward of HCM City’s District 1, the provision of health care for migrant mothers and children in HCM City, and the legal advice provision to the target group in nearby Dong Nai province.

SISS specialist Huynh Thi Ngoc Tuyet said it is necessary to expand such models to better migrant labourers’ livelihoods and improve their awareness and access to social welfare.

Making those initiatives official is also critical to popularising the good practices, she noted.-VNA