12 May 2022, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) have partnered to study the impacts of Covid-19 on the labour rights of internal migrant workers in Viet Nam with a focus on the apparel, footwear and electronics industries.
The seven-month study, from March to September 2022, will produce evidence-based information and recommendations for government authorities, businesses and civil society on the protection of internal migrant workers, especially during and post Covid-19 recovery. It will also provide a comparative analysis on risks between key industries, as well as employment and social security gaps between locals and internal migrant workers.
“During the fourth wave of Covid-19 in Viet Nam, internal migrant workers were among the hardest hit groups, resulted in about 2.2 million returning to their hometowns,” said Ms. Mihyung Park, Chief of Mission, IOM Viet Nam.
“It is vital that businesses address vulnerabilities of internal migrant workers and collaborate with governments and other stakeholders to achieve more sustainable solutions to ensure their well-being. This partnership with VCCI will strengthen our collaboration on research related to labour migration in Viet Nam toward better protection of Vietnamese migrant workers,” Ms. Park added.
Mr. Vo Tan Thanh, Vice Chairman of VCCI, said: “Internal migrant workers are a key factor and a driving force of socioeconomic development in Viet Nam. This study with IOM is timely to inform how to best address the current challenges faced by internal migrant workers in a sustainable way that will benefit both the workers and businesses”.
Strict lockdown and movement restrictions during the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the southern provinces have impacted the livelihoods of millions of internal migrant workers in both factories and the informal sector. It has been forecasted that the reluctancy of internal migrant workers to return to work, due to both physical and mental health concerns, will continue for a long time, and negatively impact the national economy, especially for labour-intensive industries such as apparel, footwear and electronics.
The study receives technical support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) – Better Work Viet Nam programme, including insights to the industries and inputs to the research scope and methodology.
This partnership is within the framework of IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST), a regional initiative that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.