Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged ministries and localities to find out why few people from poor districts went to work abroad.

Although the Government had issued preferential policies as well as financial and human resources assistance to poor districts, most areas failed to meet national labour export targets, Phuc said at a conference in northern mountainous Lao Cai province on January 19.

In 2009, the Government issued Decision 71, which created a programme to help labourers in 62 poor districts escape poverty through labour export. They would be provided with free vocational training, language classes and financial assistance when they were sent to work abroad. The decision set the target of about 60,000 workers to work abroad by 2015.

However, after five years of implementation, only 26,800 workers in poor districts have enrolled in this programme, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Department for Overseas Labour Management.

About 9,500 workers have been sent to markets like Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan (China), 95 percent of whom are poor or belong to ethnic minorities.

Only about 325 workers registered for the programme in each district, with roughly 22 workers registering in each village. In poor districts, about 161 workers were sent to work abroad.

Former Deputy Director of the department Hoang Kim Ngoc, who is in charge of the implementation of Decision 71, told Sai Gon Giai phong (Liberated Sai Gon) that half the workers abandoned the programme after enrolling. Many were undisciplined and would leave the programme if they didn't like the training.

At the conference, Phuc asked MOLISA to work with local authorities to examine how the programme was carried out.

He asked local authorities to learn about labourers' concerns and report shortcomings in the programme to authorised agencies. He cited changes in training as an example, pointing out that training should be suitable for the customs of ethnic minority labourers in remote areas.

He also required the ministry to study the feasibility of increasing financial assistance, especially for those who worked abroad, to encourage more labourers to participate in the programme.-VNA