Vietnam, UK Enhance Cooperation on Immigration Matters

In the context of international and domestic fluctuations, sending Vietnamese labourers to work abroad needs the close attention as well as the coordination and supervision to ensure this activity is effective, practical, and ensures the rights and interests of labourers.

Vietnamese women head to Japan to work. Photo: VNA
Vietnamese women head to Japan to work. Photo: VNA

Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long and the UK Home Office’s Secretary of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick has discussed the possibility of expanding legal immigration opportunities for workers in a number of industries that Vietnam has strengths and the UK is in great demand.

During their working session in London on March 23, the two sides spoke highly of the bilateral cooperation in immigration and crime prevention, agreeing that this is one of the important pillars in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Both sides said they consider promoting legal immigration channels as an effective and long-term way to achieve this goal.

They also reviewed the implementation of the outcomes of the first Migration Dialogue between Vietnam and the UK in August 2022 and discussed the preparation for the second event of this kind slated for this year in London.

Ambassador Long thanked the UK Home Office officials for their attention to promoting the friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations.

He suggested the UK side continue to create favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the UK to live, work and study in the country in a stable manner, thus significantly contributing to the bilateral relations.

For his part, Jenrick called for coordination between the two sides to organize meaningful activities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the Vietnam – UK diplomatic relations.

He affirmed the willingness to support the embassy in implementing specific measures to step up the bilateral strategic partnership further.

Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long (R) and the UK Home Office’s Secretary of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick. Photo: TG&VN
Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long (R) and the UK Home Office’s Secretary of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick. Photo: TG&VN

Recently, the UK’s Migration and Modern Slavery Envoy, Andrew Patrick made his first visit to Vietnam on March 6-7.

During his visit, Patrick had a meeting with senior officials from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security to discuss the review of the 2018 UK – Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in tackling human trafficking. This review is an essential step toward the two countries’ continued partnership in tackling serious organized crimes, particularly human trafficking.

The UK Envoy also met with the Border Guard Commander of Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence (MoND) and the Director of the Social Vices Prevention Department of Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to explore opportunities for further cooperation in capacity building, supporting, and protecting victims of human trafficking.

In the meeting with the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Patrick highlighted the positive impact of the ongoing Tackling Modern Slavery in Vietnam Programme which has been implemented since 2019 with support from the UK Government.

The program has helped raise the Vietnamese public awareness of the risks of illegal migration and contributed to the implementation of the Vietnam National Action Plan on tackling human trafficking from 2021 to 2025.

Labor migration is an integral part of Vietnam’s overall development, reflected in growing remittance flows, alleviation of domestic labor market pressure, and skills transfer. However, gaps in regulatory oversight of recruitment agencies, as well as limited administrative and criminal law enforcement, allow unethical recruitment practices to continue in Vietnam, putting migrant workers at risk of forced labor and human trafficking.

The number of Vietnamese workers abroad has steadily increased, surpassing 100,000 people per year since 2014. In the 2013-2021 period, nearly 1 million people were sent to work abroad. They have contributed significantly to the country’s foreign currency reserves.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of migrants traveling through official channels has reduced, but illegal migration has still seen complicated developments despite border control measures.

In 2023, the country set a target to send 110,000 workers abroad.

Hannah Nguyen