Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen touched upon a number of issues under her remit in response to National Assembly deputies’ queries during a question-and-answer session on November 19.

Minister Chuyen admitted that current salary increases did not ensure workers’ wellbeing, elaborating that salary levels met a mere 60 percent of the minimum living standards, which will improve in 2015 or 2016 once wages are raised.

In response to concerns over the strategy to develop Vietnam’s human resources between 2011 and 2020, she clarified that 55 percent of the workforce are to be trained by the end of 2015, and 70 percent by 2020. Additionally, each ministry and sector is tasked with specific responsibilities to realise those objectives.

The Prime Minister approved a project to establish 45 high-quality vocational training centres, 10 of which will meet international standards, while another project will review and update vocational training, she added.

With regard to 174,000 graduates failing to secure jobs by the third quarter of 2014, the minister said approximately 800,000 students graduated from junior colleges, universities and vocational schools every year. Such a high rate of unemployment was attributable to socio-economic hardships, poor business performance, and a shortage of skilled workers.

To deal with this problem, her ministry will work with other agencies to gain a precise overview of the labour market in order to devise an appropriate master plan on training, she noted. Meanwhile, courses to retrain unemployed graduates would be run and policies that encouraged them to work in rural and ethnic minority communities would be developed.

During the session, Minister Chuyen also acknowledged the large number of foreigners working in Vietnam, amidst a high unemployment rate for young Vietnamese jobseekers. There are approximately 78,000 foreign nationals, mostly highly qualified, working in Vietnam at present. A majority of unskilled foreign workers are Chinese nationals and arrived in Vietnam on tourist visas.

She said the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Public Security to manage foreign workers, and violations will be handled in accordance with the law.

Her ministry will also ask employers to publicise job vacancies and provide more opportunities for Vietnamese candidates, the minister concluded.-VNA