Migrant labour was the focus of an ASEAN meeting held on September 23 in Hanoi.

The National Preparatory Workshop met ahead of the upcoming ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), an annual gathering for ASEAN countries to discuss migrant labour issues.

The workshop aimed to share information on the success of previous AFML recommendations to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.

Ta Thi Thanh Thuy, Deputy Director of the Department of Overseas Labour's Personnel Section – a division of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs - summarized Vietnam's effort to implement the previous AFML's recommendations. She encouraged ASEAN countries to collect and share information on migrant workers and enhance the effectiveness of complaints mechanisms.

"The complaints mechanisms are designed to make sure both labour importers and intermediaries – or, labour exporters - are responsive to workers' complaints," Thuy said.

Vietnamese overseas workers can seek support at the Migration Resource Centre, a service financed by the International Organisation for Migration, which will provide them with advice and assist them with filing complaints.

Nguyen Luong Trao, President of the Vietnam Association of Manpower Supply (VAMAS), said Vietnam labour exporters will continue to improve the quality of migrant workers' pre-departure orientation and training.

The organisation introduced the use of information booklets to assist overseas workers in countries and territories such as Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. Contents of the booklets included information on the host country's geography, society, customs, regulations, foreign workers' rights and benefits, as well as guidelines for getting loans and transferring money back home.

VAMAS also stressed the importance of building a Code of Conduct for Vietnam, with 12 principles intended to set professional and moral standards for labour exporters.

Head of the Department of Socio Economic Policy, Vietnam Confederation of Labour, said the confederation will closely monitor recruitment processes and promote pre-departure vocational training for overseas workers.

"Union representatives need to improve their legal knowledge to be able to protect the right of overseas workers," he said.

Delegates from the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration participated in group discussions to prepare recommendations to submit to the seventh AFML on 20-21 November in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.-VNA