Job seekers should be cautious abroad

Updated: 2013-07-08 03:03

By HE DAN (China Daily)

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Job seekers should be cautious abroad

A Chinese worker (center), who was abducted by Darfur rebels in January, is helped off the plane upon his arrival at the Khartoum airport in Sudan after his release on Jan 17. Four workers with China Railway 18 Bureau Group Co were abducted by Darfur rebels on Jan 12 and freed five days later. EBRAHIM HAMID / AFP PHOTO  

Chinese people seeking employment abroad should sign proper contracts, receive safety training, research their destination countries thoroughly and only work through companies qualified to supply staff abroad, experts say.

Huang Leping, director of the Beijing Yilian Legal Aid and Research Center of Labor, an NGO dedicated to providing free legal aid for workers, suggested Chinese people planning to work overseas be cautious about employers or intermediary agencies that only give verbal promises about pay and benefits.

"Our workers are mainly sent abroad by Chinese companies that set up overseas branches or via intermediary agencies. Whatever the case, they should make sure that agreements about salary, rights and obligations are written into the contracts," said Huang.

He also suggested workers choose to work for companies with licenses for foreign labor cooperation and sending workers abroad, because only qualified companies can go through the necessary procedures for obtaining working visas.

If their rights are violated abroad, it is vital that workers negotiate with their foreign employer collectively, rather than individually, and that they do not resort to violence, he said.

Feng Xiliang, a labor professor at the Capital University of Economics and Business, said employers should provide training programs for workers heading abroad, including techniques for negotiating with kidnappers and coping with riots, particularly for those bound for unstable countries. In emergency situations, they should always turn to the Chinese embassy for help, he said.

Working in a different environment always brings challenges, and so workers should thoroughly research their destination country before departure, Feng said.

"Before they go, it's important for workers to have at least some basic knowledge of the relevant laws, politics, customs and languages of their destination countries," he said, adding that Chinese workers should abide by local laws and employment rules.

"The trend of globalization means the increased export of labor, and some provinces send large numbers of migrant workers abroad through intermediary agencies," Feng said.

"These provincial governments should strengthen supervision and management of intermediary agencies to guarantee that labor export is sustainable and mutually beneficial."