Labour min­istry to tar­get mi­grant work­ers in ef­forts to boost econ­omy

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

AIMING to both bol­ster the econ­omy and sup­port the re­turn of Myan­mar ci­ti­zens work­ing abroad, the min­is­ter for labour an­nounced plans to stim­u­late the coun­try’s job mar­ket.

Speak­ing at the 9th ASEAN Fo­rum on Mi­grant Labour last week, Min­is­ter for Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion U Thein Swe said that the govern­ment was in the process of im­ple­ment­ing eco­nomic poli­cies in­tended to en­cour­age more Myan­mar ci­ti­zens to seek work within Myan­mar rather than go­ing abroad.

In his open­ing re­marks, the min­is­ter said mi­grant work­ers are of­ten un­der­val­ued by both the coun­try they leave and the coun­tries they find work in. He said that the govern­ment recog­nises the im­por­tant so­cial, eco­nomic and cul­tural con­tri­bu­tions of both in­go­ing and out­go­ing mi­grants and was try­ing to im­prove their cir­cum­stances.

“The govern­ment is lay­ing down plans as part of our eco­nomic pol­icy to boost job op­por­tu­ni­ties for our ci­ti­zens who are re­turn­ing from work­ing over­seas,” U Thein Swe said.

Ac­cord­ing to the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion, U Myo Aung, some mea­sures are al­ready un­der way.

“Cur­rently, we are help­ing mi­grant work­ers to legally re­mit their money from over­seas and to find a job on their re­turn. We ask re­turn­ing work­ers about their skills and send­ing their de­tails to the Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try to help them find a suit­able job,” he said.

U Myo Aung said that the in­crease in mi­grant work­ers leav­ing Myan­mar is ex­plained by a lack of job op­por­tu­ni­ties and low salaries.

“There is driv­ing force and at­trac­tion in this case. Driv­ing force means that job op­por­tu­ni­ties in Myan­mar are not good. At­trac­tion means that the po­ten­tial salaries in other coun­tries are much higher and there is also great chance to en­hance one’s skills. These two fac­tors lead to more mi­grant work­ers,” he said.

At the ASEAN fo­rum, the govern­ment also stated that they were do­ing all they could to en­sure the safety and rights of Myan­mar ci­ti­zens work­ing in for­eign coun­tries.

To min­imise these risks U Myo Aung urged prospec­tive mi­grant work­ers to find work over­seas through ap­proved chan­nels and pre­pare for their time abroad by learn­ing about the coun­try and fa­mil­iaris­ing them­selves with the de­tails of emer­gency con­tacts.

U Moe Gyo, chair of the Joint Com­mit­tee for Myan­mar Ci­ti­zens Af­fairs, re­in­forced the labour min­istry’s appeal.

“I’d like to urge peo­ple to use of­fi­cial agen­cies if they want to work as mi­grant work­ers over­seas. If they go of­fi­cially, they can get help from work­ers or­gan­i­sa­tions and em­bassy of­fi­cials. If not, they might be at the risk of be­ing a vic­tim of hu­man traf­fick­ing,” he said.

U Moe Gyo said that the govern­ment does not need to de­velop new poli­cies to deal with mi­grant work­ers, but should sim­ply im­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing pol­icy with more clar­ity, fa­cil­i­tat­ing eas­ier co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries.

In 2015, more than 2.1 mil­lion mi­grant work­ers left ASEAN na­tions and trav­elled to other coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to U Yo Ye Mon Go Van, chief co­or­di­na­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion in Yan­gon. 52 per­cent of these were women.

On be­half of the ILO he urged all ASEAN na­tions to co­op­er­ate with each other to de­velop ro­bust rules and reg­u­la­tions to pro­tect mi­grant work­ers. He added that given the con­tri­bu­tions made by mi­grant work­ers to a coun­try’s econ­omy, they should re­ceive the full pro­tec­tion and ben­e­fit of labour rights and laws. – Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han

and Thiri Min Htun

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