Ho Chi Minh City weighs easing state employment rules to draw talents

By Thien Ngon   February 20, 2017 | 01:47 am PT
The city is in severe shortage of public school teachers.

Ho Chi Minh City plans to skip the residency status requirement in employment of civil jobs to attract more talents, officials said.

“There’s no reason that experts right inside the country have to go through the residency status requirement,” Nguyen Van Dung, the director of the city's Department of Science and Technology, told a meeting last Friday, citing the city's current rules offered to attract foreign experts, including overseas Vietnamese.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest and also the country's business hub, has already been paying as high as VND150 million ($6,580) per month to foreign talents, a senior Interior Department official said at the meeting. The government's basic salary for state employees now stands at around VND1.2 million a month.

Dung proposed to abolish the permanent residency requirement, which is applied for most state jobs including teachers. 

The city’s top leader Dinh La Thang dismissed the demand for permanent residency as “unreasonable,” adding that the city can totally change the rule to draw more talented workers.

Ho Chi Minh City is in severe shortage of primary and secondary school teachers, especially for music, sports and computer skills, so an open policy is needed to meet the workforce demand, Thang was quoted by the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying at the same meeting.

The Department of Interior said it will collect more opinions and propose a new rule to the municipal government.

Vietnam is one of the few countries where the ho khau (residency) system is applied, which borrows heavily from China’s hukou. The system, started in the 1950s to control counter revolutionaries and criminals, requires Vietnamese citizens to live where they are registered or seek government permission for relocation.

After the war, many people relied on the system as they needed to receive basic goods and services once subsidized by the government. Now ho khau is still maintained partly to curb migrants in major cities.

Many private businesses do not demand the residency status when hiring. In several public sectors, cities still give exceptions to highly qualified migrants.

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