Over 3,000 Vietnamese migrant workers repatriated home so far hinh anh 1Workers from Equatorial Guinea express their gratitude to the Party and State for their support amid difficulties triggered by COVID-19. (Photo: VNA)

 

Hanoi (VNA) – The repatriation of Vietnamese workers from abroad due to health reasons, expired labour contracts, occupational accidents, or pregnancies faces numerous difficulties.

The pandemic’s developments since February in almost all countries has driven air travel between countries into a stalemate. To ensure safety and curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries impose travel restrictions, quarantine regulations and frequent temperature checks, along with PCR test results showing that passengers are free of COVID-19 within 72 hours since departure, among others.

Regulations have dealt a heavy blow to Vietnamese firms sending workers abroad and the repatriation of labourers with existing health reasons, expired contracts, occupational accidents and prenancy.

Thanks to efforts made by officials at the Department of Overseas Labour Management and Vietnamese embassies together with relevant agencies of respective countries, Vietnamese authorities and national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, some special repatriation flights were arranged to bring prioritised citizens and workers home safe and sound.

According to the department, more than 3,000 Vietnamese migrant workers had been flown home as of August.

The Republic of Korea (RoK)

As of August 10, the Embassy of Vietnam in the RoK had teamed up with relevant agencies to arrange six flights bringing a total 1,261 citizens home, including 445 labourers with expired contracts, 193 overstaying their visas, 72 working in offshore vessels and sailors who were stranded at seaports. The rest were elderly, students who finished their studies, estranged tourists, businesspeople, and patients.

Of the total 445 workers with expired contracts, 14 suffered from severe illness. As many as 24 female workers were pregnant and six of them had their contracts revoked and without accommodations. 

Taiwan (China)

Commercial flights between Vietnam and Taiwan have been completely suspended since March. The Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei set up a portal to collect information and report on the arrangement of repatriation flights later that month.

At the end of August, a total of 25,500 people signed up for such flights via the Office’s website. They were primarily pregnant workers, the ill, labourers with expired contracts, students, stranded tourists, or people visiting their families.

As of August 10, six special flights bringing citizens home from Taiwan were conducted, flying 1,690 people home, including 1,160 workers.

Saudi Arabia

The Vietnamese Embassy in Saudi Arabia worked with Vietnamese authorities and the Vietnam Airlines on August 8 to organise a flight helping 196 people in extremely disadvantaged circumstances home. That was the first of its kind from Saudi Arabia amid COVID-19 developments in the Gulf country.

Over 3,000 Vietnamese migrant workers repatriated home so far hinh anh 2A flight bringing Vietnamese citizens home during the pandemic time (Photo: VNA)

Just in a short preparation, the staff at the embassy actively joined hands with relevant agencies to complete procedures and help citizens travel to the country’s Ryadh capital city.

Of those repatriated, 150 were labourers sent by domestic firms. They signed up for the flight as their contracts expired.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The Vietnamese Embassy together with UAE agencies successfully carried out two flights on May 2 and August 8 which brought 563 citizens home given that international commercial flights were halted because of COVID-19.

Japan 

Some 8,290 trainees and workers in Japan have registered to take part in repatriation flights so far through a portal of the embassy. About 690 trainees came back home after 11 flights of that kind.

However, the number of stranded trainees with expired contracts remains huge and puts pressure on management units. That contract expiry will come in upcoming months hampers those agencies’ supervision over migrant workers. 

In addition, unemployment and bankruptcy have been on the rise among companies recruiting Vietnamese workers.

A special flight from Equatorial Guinea

Flight VN05 of Vietnam Airlines left for Bata International Airport of Equatorial Guinea from Hanoi-based Noi Bai Airport on July 28 to repatriate 219 Vietnamese workers, 219 of them thought to be carrying COVID-19.

The flight landed safe and sound at Noi Bai at 3 pm one day later and the passengers were immediately sent to the hospital for treatment and quarantine.

They were workers sent by three Vietnamese companies to work at the Sendje hydropower plant project in Littorial of Equitorial Guinea.

The successful journey was made through major efforts by the Vietnamese Government amid the complexities of the pandemic and travel restrictions. It also showed the Government’s spirit in striving to protect all Vietnamese citizens at all costs./. 

VNA