It is essential to build a transparent and simple common complaints mechanism in ASEAN to ensure legitimate rights for their migrant workers in the context of the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by late 2015.

This recommendation was made by experts at a seminar organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Hanoi on September 23, held in preparation for the 7 th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) scheduled for November in Myanmar.

Vietnam is one of the three Southeast Asian countries with the largest number of migrant workers, with approximately 500,000 Vietnamese labourers working in more than 40 countries and territories worldwide, MoLISA said.

The establishment of AEC and the increasing demand for workers in neighbouring countries, such as Laos and Thailand, is expected to boost labour migration and labour exports in Vietnam.

In such a context, participants said Vietnam should early build its own mechanism to deal with complaints by migrant workers and set up a centre to provide information and advice to them.

They also suggested Vietnam’s trade unions become involved in the negotiation of national cooperation agreements on labour so as to safeguard the interests and rights of workers better.

The suggestions at the seminar, together with recommendations made at similar events held in other ASEAN countries, will be brought to the 7th AFML for discussion. The forum is an annual event and part of the action programme of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW).-VNA