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National preparatory workshop for 13th ASEAN forum on migrant labour


 On 28/9/2020, in Hanoi, Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) held the National preparatory workshop for 13th ASEAN forum on migrant labour with the theme “Supporting migrant workers during the pandemic for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community” through hybrid way with offline in Viet Nam and online with non- Vietnamese delegates.

Attending the Workshop were Mr. Nguyen Manh Cuong, Director General of Department of International Cooperation; Ms. Valentina Barcucci, Labour Economist, ILO Country Office for Viet Nam; representatives from the relating Ministries, sectors in Vietnam, institutions, international organizations…
In the context of global integration and globalization, migrant workers are an integral part of the economy. Migrant workers have contributed significantly to the economic growth and sustainable development for both the sending and receiving countries. Recognizing the role of migration, ASEAN Member States (AMS) in general and Viet Nam in particular are interested in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of migrant workers and their families.
The ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) is an annual event held by the host country of ASEAN under the purview of the ASEAN Commission to implement the Declaration of ASEAN Leaders on Protection and Promotion of Rights of Migrant Workers. Recommendations and solutions to promote the rights of migrant workers proposed at the Forum will create a basis for developing and implementing national and regional activities. Due to the Covid-19, as the Chair of ASEAN 2020, Viet Nam will conduct the 13th AFML Forum in November 2020 with the theme “Supporting migrant workers during the pandemic for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”, focusing on two main contents including: (i) Impact of COVID-19 on migrant workers and responses in ASEAN; (ii) Inclusive and responsive labour migration policy for future preparedness in ASEAN.
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious impact on economies, businesses and workers globally and in the ASEAN region. The continuous rapid spread of COVID-19 is unimaginable with numbers increasing daily, both globally and regionally. With a deep concern about the impact of COVID-19 on ASEAN workers including migrant workers, various national and international organizations are reviewing the impacts/challenges and the way to best respond to them. Policy responses to support migrant workers introduced by AMS have included, among others, free COVID-19 testing and health care for migrant workers; automatic visa extensions; registration procedures; logistical help in organizing returns; and assistance and temporary income support to returnees. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has however exposed the challenges faced by migrant workers in the region as they often lack access to health services and are left out of formal policy and social protection measures.
At the regional level, the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Special Meeting on 14 May 2020 adopted the Joint Statement on response to the impact of COVID-19 on labour and employment, which outlines actions to support migrant workers stranded in each other’s country or in third countries. Through meetings and reports, we can see that ASEAN has jointly responded to the COVID-19 and its impact by undertaking measures to sustain the health and livelihood of the people and accelerate economic recovery.
The objective of the meeting is to: review national activities in the implementation of 12th AFML’s recommendation; discuss the 2 main contents of this AFML mentioned above and propose Vietnamese recommendations to serve as inputs for the forthcoming 13th AFML in November 2020. The meeting will provide a good opportunity for participants to discuss and bring forward ideas that contribute to the region's recommendations.