by Nguyen Hung

The city needs manual labour for its development, but the authorities are not concerned about the problems of labourers coming from other areas. Those who do not have the money can't even get residency documents.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Homeless, exploited, not even considered residents, with everything that this entails. The condition of immigrant workers in Ho Chi Minh City highlights the lack of respect for their fundamental rights. According to the theory of socialism, the government should take care of the well-being of the poor and their freedom of religion, but it seems that this is not true in Vietnamese society today.

To continue its economic development, the city needs a large labour force, so the government is carrying forward the utopian strategy of allowing the number of immigrants to rise. According to data of the administration, each year Ho Chi Minh City needs 200,000 labourers, but has only 86,000.

There are 15 industrial areas around the city where 185,000 people work, 70 percent of them coming from the various provinces. The city numbers between 7 and 8 million inhabitants, and an increasing number of them are in poverty. The number is changing because of economic development and because the poor and the migrant workers do not have homes.

Immigrants who do not have residency documents for the city are called "di dan". The neighbourhood and district governments discriminate against them. This discrimination is seen not only on the level of psychology or prejudice, but also on the levels of administration, social policy, and freedom of religion. This is explained to AsiaNews by the Nhan family: "When we came here to learn a living, I had no documents, so I could only do temporary work, with no contract. When I was sick, I had no money to buy medicine. I had to work hard to earn the KT3, registration as emigrants. I obtained the 'mark', which means that my son is able to go to elementary school. I had to pay the local authorities. People with no money cannot get the KT3".

"The room where I live", recounts 26 year-old Yen, who comes from the province of Quang Nam, "is very small, and I live there with four other women. During the rainy season it is humid and very hot, beginning at noon. I have lost my family and my son. I have a lot of work, and I only want to earn enough money to get by".