HCMC government agencies give up quest for foreign talent, for now

By Thien Ngon   November 23, 2018 | 05:29 pm PT
HCMC government agencies give up quest for foreign talent, for now
Travelers drive past Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee building on Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1. Photo by VnExpress/Ha Thanh
The HCMC Department of Home Affairs has backtracked on hiring foreign workers for the city government.

A week after issuing the fourth draft of the Talent Attraction Policy for 2018-22, the department has removed the part about recruiting foreigners in the fifth.

It had said the inclusion of foreign nationals in the search for people with "extensive experience, prestige and capacity in highly creative work or research activities" would help attract new talent to the city, especially foreign nationals of Vietnamese descent who wish to return and contribute to their homeland.

But it has now restricted that search to Vietnamese nationals living in the country and abroad.

It said the city is still in the early stages of using its administrative and financial autonomy for policymaking, and so does not have much experience, especially in developing schemes to attract talent.

So there are bound to be obstacles in receiving and assessing foreigners’ applications, which would affect the entire recruiting process, it said.

But later, when it becomes clear that government agencies need foreigners for certain tasks, the city could widen the search for such candidates, it said.

Besides foreigners, it also removed researchers with published works from the list saying the law stipulates that those authors have to transfer the techniques instead of selling their works to the city, a process that involves auction, assessment and inspection and takes much time and effort, causing the authors to lose enthusiasm.

The fifth draft will be reviewed by the city’s top officials early next month so that it can be adopted next year.

Public agencies have listed 57 vacancies so far, but the total is expected to go up to 199 in the fields of science and technology, policymaking, urban infrastructure development, public services, culture, arts and sports.

In the fourth draft, the department suggested a VND50 million ($2,130) initial grant plus VND20-30 million ($852 - $1,278) per month for living expenses for specialists.

For a number of positions, for each finished research project or work of art, culture or sports recognized by competent authorities, the city will award 1 percent of the cost of that project as the specialist’s remuneration. The minimum remuneration for a person will be VND50 million ($2,130) and the maximum, VND1 billion ($43,000).

The experts will also be provided with official housing or reimbursed 50 percent of their actual rent.

According to the department, specialists to be recruited should be physically and mentally fit for the requirements of the job, be ethical and aspire to contribute, have exceptional knowledge or competence in one or more branches or domains, and be highly capable of creative work.

In the last few months HCMC and some provinces have rolled out many policies to attract talent, but not achieved the expected results.

Experts believe this is because the policies are like ‘red carpet over a minefield,’ given the many conditions and administrative procedures that have to be met by those recruited.

There are around 82,000 foreigners living and working in Vietnam, mostly in big cities like Hanoi and HCMC.

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