This year, China will make more efforts to protect migrant laborers' rights and clear the way for them to work in urban areas, said an official with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security Wednesday.
The government will remove all the barriers blocking rural laborers from working in the urban areas this year, including concerned regulations and systems, said Zheng Silin, China's labor minister, at the China Employment Forum that opened here Wednesday.
Statistics with the ministry show that, in the past 20 years, over 200 million rural laborers have moved from the countryside tothe urban area. At present, the number of people employed in township enterprises has reached 130 million and about 100 million rural laborers were employed in urban areas or developed regions.
However, China has 150 million more surplus rural laborers and more of them need jobs in the non-agricultural sector with the further adjustment of the agricultural structure, said Zheng.
The official said the Chinese government has paid great attention to the employment of rural laborers and has taken it as an important step to raise farmers' income and narrow the gap between rural and urban areas.
In order to promote the flow of laborers from rural areas to developed urban areas, the government has built an information network and strengthened the service of job agencies to organize an orderly flow of migrant workers across regions.
However, migrant workers still face many difficulties when working in cities and their rights are often violated, which has become a big barrier to the free labor flow.
The government should strengthen training of migrant workers before they move to cities and more guidance should be provided to them in job hunting and rights protection, said Zheng.
The local governments where the migrant workers come from should send special staff to provide more service and strengthen administration of this group of people.
Central China's Hubei Province has set up a service office in Beijing for migrant workers coming from the province.
Moreover, following last year's efforts, the government will continue to help migrant workers get their defaulted payment this year, said Zheng.
Up to now, about 28 billion yuan (3.38 billion US dollars) of the 32 billion yuan (3.8 billion US dollars) of defaulted wages has been paid to migrant workers, said the minister.
Zheng also said the government will reinforce law enforcement this year and harshly punish any violations of migrant workers' rights.