Minimum wage, child labour protections coming

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U Thein Swe, Union Minster for Labour, Immigration and Population. Photo: MNA

Efforts are being made to establish a fixed minimum wage for workers and for them to obtain full legal rights, said U Thein Swe, Union Minster for Labour, Immigration and Population at a press conference yesterday.
The Union Minister said data statistics from a survey by the Directorate of Labour and the International Labour Organisation on the labour force, child labour and rate of entry into the workforce following high school graduation is uploaded on the ministry’s website. To aid Myanmar workers abroad, Foreign Worker Ambassadors have been appointed in countries large numbers of Burmese workers and memorandums of understanding have been signed to ensure smooth transit for workers.
Various systems and networks have been implemented to offer job opportunities, depending on the increasing population and GDP as well as based on the needs of old and new factories and workplaces.
The ministry is working according to the 2012 Social Security Law so that both workers with insured employment and unemployed workers have the right to join if they wish and a national survey for the workforce with social security is being carried out. Extra focus is made on supporting and developing worker’s hospitals with enough medical staff and medical equipment.
The ministry has also been working on lowering the policy of black list entries that ban entry into Myanmar, assisting in online e-visas and entry visas, restoring citizenship to former Myanmar citizens living abroad, lessening procedures for foreign residents applying for permanent residence, and easing restrictions for re-entry visas for immigrant workers.
Also in process are the issuing of various household registrations and registration cards for migrant workers and students from basic education schools, issuing of concerned registration cards based on the 1982 Citizenship Law, issuing of National Verification Cards (NVCs) in Rakhine State.
The ministry is also working on migrant workers of mixed ethnicities to legally relocate, changing NRC cards to a smart card format, carrying out National ID (NID) surveys, carrying out continued broadcasts by Mayu FM Radio, and performing tasks for migrant Myanmar workers abroad.
Also in progress are the processes that will allow Hluttaw Research Committees to utilise household registration surveys, issuing of reports for household registration surveys based on townships in accord with the 2014 Population and Household Census, uploading information on Department of Population’s and UNFPA’s website of, and issuing work schedules for ethnic registrations in accord with the 2014 census.
Afterwards, responsible officials answered questions raised by members of the media.
Permanent Secretary U Myint Kyaing said that, according to the 2014 census, Myanmar had a population of 51,480,000 people. The previously mentioned number of 60 million people was an estimate calculated based on international standards. As of 28 April, the population of Myanmar has reached over 53 million.
Permanent Secretary U Myo Aung said the ministry has been unable to carry out surveys for the number of unemployed people after 1990, but in collaboration with the ILO they have been able to conduct surveys for child labour and the workforce in Myanmar. The ILO standard for designating a person as employed is if they work at least one hour a week. According to this standard, the unemployment rate in the country is found to be 0.8 per cent but international standards have calculated the unrealised potential of the workforce as 6.9 per cent. The statistics show the rate of employed citizens as 33.9 per ent with the actual figure of the workforce being 21.9 per cent.
Permanent Secretary U Myo Aung also said the statistics for migrant Myanmar workers abroad is based on estimates and is calculated to be 10 per cent of the country’s population. The Committee for Education, Health and Human Resource Development chaired by the Vice President reports that migrant Myanmar workers abroad has reached over 200,000, while unofficial and illegal migration is more than that number. Efforts are being made to obtain detailed statistics.
Permanent Secretary U Myint Kyaing said the ministry reviews former Myanmar residents applying for permanent residence back in Myanmar based on whether they are included on any blacklists or have committed any crimes. Only those who are free from the two categories are allowed for reapplication for Myanmar citizenship.
Director General U Htay Hlaing said immigrant workers to Myanmar can stay based on the permitted duration on their entry visas and reapplication for visas is necessary when their term expires. Immigrant workers in Nay Pyi Taw council areas are approved after careful scrutiny from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population with recommendations from ministries concerned. Illegal immigrants will be charged with legal action in accord with the 1947 Immigration Law.
Permanent Secretary U Myo Aung said fixing a rate for minimum wages is the main responsibility of the National Committee for Designating Minimum Wage formed with government officials, employer representatives, worker representatives, and expert advisers and is currently in the process of conducting meetings for regional and state levels. He also said it is impossible to designate a minimum wage immediately and requires more inclusive meetings from all sides of the sector.—Myanmar News Agency

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