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13th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour – “Supporting migrant workers during the Pandemic for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”


 In the framework of the activities of ASEAN in 2020, on November, 10th, Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs in cooperation with the ASEAN’s Secretariat and ILO in Vietnam held the 13th Virtual ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) under the theme "Supporting migrant workers during the Pandemic for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community". Attending the forum were triparties’s representatives, representatives from relating ministries, sectors in Vietnam, academies, international organizations, experts in the field of migrant labour in Vietnam. Deputy Minister of MOLISA Nguyen Ba Hoan chaired the Forum.

Speaking at the opening, Deputy Minister of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Ba Hoan said that in the context of integration and globalization, migrant labours have been played an important role in the economies of countries. The migrant workers have contributed considerably into the development of economy and sustainable growth for both dispatching countries and receiving countries.
Recognising the role of migrant workers, ASEAN member countries are always interested in protecting the rights and legal interests of migrant workers and their families. In 2007, ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Declaration on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. To realise the opinion of the Leaders of ASEAN revealed in the Declaration, ASEAN has many effort to implement practically through the activities, cooperation programs in order to ensure the benefit for migrant labour.
In 2017, the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers was endorsed by ASEAN leaders at the 31st ASEAN Summit, offering an important basis for further promoting the protection of migrant workers including the issues on rights of migrant workers and members in their family; the obligation of the dispatching countries and receiving countries.
To realise the above consensus, the action plans have been developed by ASEAN member states through the introduction of specific programmes and actions, focusing on several priorities of consensus, including education/information; protection; enforcement; and support and reintegration measures.
Facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, regional governments as well as international organisations have come up with timely responses to minimising the negative impact on workers in general and migrant workers in particular. The responses to support migrant workers include offering free COVID-19 tests and health care; automatic visa extension; supporting registration procedure; and providing temporary income assistance and assistance for returnees.
At the 13th AFML, participants focused on reviewing the implementation of the recommendations from the previous AFML meetings, while discussing the impact of COVID-19 on migrant workers and the response within ASEAN, as well as cohesive and proactively adaptive labour migration policy for ASEAN's future preparation.
The annual AFML is an open platform for review, discussion and exchange of good practices and ideas between governments, workers’ and employers’ organisations, and civil society stake-holders on the key issues facing women and men migrant workers in Southeast Asia and to develop recommendations to advance the implementation of the principles of the ASEAN Declaration on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
Each year the AFML is hosted by the current chair of the ASEAN.
This important forum creates the chance for the representatives discussing, sharing about issue and opinion on migrant workers and gather giving the recommendation of the Forum. The recommendation and solution to promoting the rights of migrant labour which announced in Forum will make the foundation to build and implement the national and regional activities in order to support better and more timely for migrant workers.