Women immigrants in HCM City have faced severe financial and other challenges since the recession began in 2007, according to a study released on Dec. 14 by a city-based university.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Hong Xoan, a member of the research group from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said the study was meant to assess the impact of the economic recession on women, especially immigrants to the city during the period.

It polled 400 women in the district of Nha Be, Thu Duc, Binh Thanh, and 5, half of them immigrants aged between 21 and 40.

It found that the rate of unemployment among women in the city was more than 5 percent, higher than the national average.

Nearly 91.5 percent of women immigrants to the city work at industrial and export processing zones, run small business, or do seasonal jobs since they lack knowledge or skills.

"They do not have any knowledge of social and health insurance or labour contracts, and so do not protest when their employers do not sign contracts or pay social and health insurance for them," Xoan said.

Their average salary at industrial and export processing zones is around 2.3 million VND while the cost of living in the city is rising relentlessly, forcing them to cut back on rent, healthcare, and entertainment.

They can only afford 2.7 percent to 5 percent of their income for healthcare, with most of them going to pharmacies rather than doctors for medicines.

Ninety percent of them do not have time to attend training courses to improve their skills because they have to work to earn money.

Just over a third of them have the time to take part in events organised by social organisations like trade unions and women's unions, meaning most are unable to learn about labour laws or benefits.

The researchers recommended that employers and authorities should take greater care of women workers, especially migrants.

More research would need to be done into the life and work of women migrants to enable policy makers to draft specific policies to support them, they added./.