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State Overhauls Illegal Job Markets
Urgent measures have been introduced by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to help safeguard the legal rights of migrant workers.

High on the list of priorities is the crackdown on illegal labour markets, in which many employment agencies cheat migrant labourers out of service charges for false information about jobs.

The ministry explained the measures were based on its findings that it is difficult for migrant labourers to find jobs in big cities because many companies are not yet fully operational following the Spring Festival holidays.

"Jobs are limited but labourers are many; so we need to take urgent action to crack down on illegal job markets," said Xin Changxing, director of the Department of Training and Employment under the ministry.

Xin's ministry has also decided to provide regular bulletins relating to jobs in cities to rationalize the flow of migrant labourers into urban centres.

Xin also said job agencies should play a bigger role in helping surplus farmers find suitable jobs as soon as possible.

For those planning to travel to cities for work, the message for the moment is stay away.

"We hope that farmers who want to leave their home towns to find work will not flood city job markets too quickly," Xin said.

Xin's suggestion was based on the finding that two-thirds of companies surveyed by his ministry would like to employ new workers but not for the next couple of months. The national survey was conducted during the holiday season and involved 5,287 companies in 24 major cities.

He added that industries such as construction, clothing and food processing are the main sectors that can employ surplus farmers.

Despite the labour authorities' warning, in the past days millions of rural labourers have already headed for cities to join the massive job hunt.

But public transportation firms say it is not easy to get rail or air tickets because of limited transportation capacity. The country is experiencing another peak in transportation as college students who returned home for the holidays are heading back to universities in the cities.

(China Daily February 25, 2002)

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