Social Justice, Vietnam
The Impact of Covid on Social Security Issues of Female Migrant
With financial support from RLS SEA – Hanoi Office, the research team assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the group of migrant female workers in the informal sector in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. With the desire to have a concrete and comprehensive assessment of COVID's impacts on this target group, the research team used a participatory approach with a sociological survey method to survey over 600 qualified samples and 12 case studies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city.
- The employment of female migrant workers in the informal sector has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 81.33 percent of interviewed workers affected. The impact on employment leads to 93.17 percent of workers having income reduced, of which 48.33 percent have no income during the lock down period. It means that these people were ultimately prone to loss of livelihood because of the knock-down measures disrupting their street-based livelihoods (accounting for 80.3 percent of the reasons leading to income reduction).
- Informal workers' meals are affected in many ways, but most importantly, because income is reduced, workers have to cut spending on food, with 75.8 percent said that they have to cut spending due to the impact of COVID-19.
- Concerning accommodation, electricity and water use do not seem to have any changes in the expense of the migrant workers because this cost group is linked with the accommodation cost, which have been at the lowest possible spending portion of the migrant workers. By the time the pandemic broke out, it was almost impossible to reduce because the expenses they paid were minimal for the minimum conditions. Thus, one of the biggest accommodation difficulties is that, most workers could not afford to pay even the minimum renting charges while their income was severely declining or even unavailable.
- COVID-19 pandemic also made the workers more concerned about health issues, with 86.33 percent saying that they paid closer attention to their health. Vietnam is one of the countries that has proven effective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, which was reflected in the attitude of this group of migrant workers involved in pandemic prevention. 99.67 percent said they wore a mask when going out.
- The main factor affecting female migrant workers' well-being in the short-term is the social distancing order which temporarily caused them to lose or reduce their income.
- Faced with the complicated and challenging developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the workers chose to stay in the city to wait for the pandemic to get over, partially relying on the government's limited relief fund but mainly due to their livelihood opportunity tied to the locality and their current job. The final choice for the majority is to cut back, use savings and loans to get by.
- In the actual situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were negative impacts on all aspects of socio-economic life, especially for vulnerable groups and informal sector workers. The Government adopted measures and issued policies timely. However, in reality, these policies didn’t reach female migrant workers in the informal sector in an adequate manner. In Hanoi, only 10.67 percent, and in Ho Chi Minh City, 17.67 percent of the respondents received support from the local government by the time this survey was conducted (July 2020).
- Besides the government's support, the support from sponsors and social organizations was reported, with 23.67 percent of respondents receiving this type of support and mainly in kind (rice, noodles, cooking oil…).
- COVID-19 will gradually deprive the female migrant workers of life subsistence, from economic to health. Therefore. The social security policies for this target group have to consider immediate solutions and long-term solutions.
- In the short term, the Government should promptly reach these people, including using local collaborators and approving citizenship identification for payment receipt regardless of the original/hometown location of residence; The support payment needs to be public and transparent. There have been many investigative reports showing that the payment for supporting COVID-19 pandemic go to the wrong people. Mobilizing other social resources to support the people while propagating pandemic prevention are necessary to support migrant workers better prepared for the pandemic.
- In the long term: the solution for economic recovery, job creation, and stimulus is a long-term and holistic one; The solution for employers and migrant workers needs a specific strategy. The street economy is a solution to employment and livelihoods for a majority of rural unskilled and uneducated labours who migrate to the city, requiring, on the one hand, planning and management to ensure stability, security and order, and on the other ensures health safety and well-being for workers.
- For each specific locality such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there is also a need for specific policies of major cities, in which two groups of solutions need to be considered: continuing to promote propaganda, raising awareness to migrant residents, and at the same time do well in the demographics management and provide flexible, timely support to these people.
Author: Dr. Le Phuong Hoa, MA. Duong Thi Nga, MA. Bui Hai. Yen
Download: The Impact of Covid on Social Security Issues of Female Migrant (En)