CREST - VAMAS Launches Revised Code of Conduct to Promote Ethical Recruitment of Migrant Workers in Viet Nam

24 Apr 2018, Ho Chi Minh City - The Viet Nam Association of Manpower and Supply (VAMAS) has published an updated Code of Conduct for the recruitment of workers for overseas jobs to improve ethical recruitment and better protect migrant workers. 
The new Code and its monitoring tools aim to better align recruitment practices with international standards and will help recruitment agencies to measure their compliance with national and international laws and best practices, and ultimately to reduce the risk of exploitation of migrant workers.
New standards included in the Code focus on reducing fees charged to migrant workers in line with international labour standards by making costs known to potential migrants through advertisements, in employment and placement contracts and sharing cost information during pre-departure training. 

The Code and its monitoring tools were launched by VAMAS with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday, and brought together representatives from VAMAS, MOLISA, DOLAB, the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), as well as representatives from recruitment agencies and representatives from the business community. 
The 2018 Code, which follows an initial 2010 version, and the accompanying monitoring tools are expected to increase transparency in the ranking of recruitment agencies and address challenges often faced by migrant workers, particularly domestic workers. 
“The language in the Code has been strengthened towards a rights-based approach,” said VAMAS Chairman Nguyen Luong Trao. “The new Code better reflects international standards on non-discrimination and standards enshrined in the ILO’s Convention 189 on Domestic Workers.” 
Along with key assessors from within VAMAS, the monitoring and evaluation process of the Code will include participation by migrant workers, along with the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Gender Equity Department.

Sources of information for assessing compliance with the new Code will include self-assessment by participating recruitment agencies, document review, monitoring visits and triangulation with the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee charged with assessing agency compliance with the Code.
“The development of industry-based codes of conduct and monitoring tools is an important means through which to improve business practices and encourages sharing of reliable information with potential migrant workers and improved support in destination workplaces,” said ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee. “The effective operation of recruitment agencies is crucial in protecting migrant workers from abuse. Currently, this abuse persists, with increased numbers of migrant worker complaints, particularly from domestic workers who toil in isolated workplaces.”
“Migrant workers are an important part of today’s global workforce and global supply chains,” said David Knight, IOM Chief of Mission for Viet Nam. “Migration must be managed in a way that ensures all migrant workers enjoy access to safe migration, so that their migration is able to contribute to the development of their communities and families.”
According to the Vietnamese Government, there are approximately 540,000 Vietnamese migrant workers overseas, mainly in Taiwan Province of People’s Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Malaysia. A record 134,751 migrant workers went abroad in 2017. Most are low skilled workers from rural areas.  

During the event, IHRB provided an overview of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, a collaboration between leading multinationals and expert organizations facilitated by the IHRB, which seeks to drive structural change in support ethical recruitment with the aim that no worker should pay for a job. Participants stressed the importance of close collaboration and exchange of best practices between brands, suppliers and recruitment agencies in order to support recruitment agencies in tackling practical implementation challenges and to achieve ethical recruitment channels.  
The 2018 Code of Conduct was developed as a part of the ongoing partnership between VAMAS and the ILO, and its monitoring tools were developed within the framework of ILO’s TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme and IOM’s CREST programme. 
The ILO’s TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Global Affairs Canada. TRIANGLE in ASEAN delivers technical assistance and support with the overall goal of maximizing the contribution of labour migration to equitable, inclusive and stable growth in the ASEAN region. IOM’s CREST is a regional partnership initiative, supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand and the IOM Development Fund, that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold labour and human rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.

For more information please contact David Knight at IOM Viet Nam,
Tel: +8424 3850 1810
Email: dknight@iom.int

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