Migrant Workers in China

Migrant workers in China often face challenges when they move from rural to urban areas. The national government and an assortment of Labor Rights nonprofit organizations help migrant workers claim back their unpaid wages and rights in the workforce.

Little Bird, an internationally recognized Chinese nonprofit, works in Beijing and Shenzhen to help labor rights for migrant employees. In 2004, its existence promoted a people’s mediation committee in Beijing, China to provide a service for workers and their employers needing legal mediation to settle disputes. Such work and efforts are done in cooperation with the provincial government which supports their clients living in mass production cities. Migrant workers usually are coming to cities to find work, typically low-skilled and low-wages within factories. However, peoples’ opportunity to have mobility in the city becomes stagnant when they are not paid enough (or at all). The national government and nonprofits such as Little Bird continues to address such problems as they support the missions of China’s global prosperity. Although, their work might look different in the years to come as nonprofits who are normally funded by international donations are effected by recent Chinese law that prohibits such transactions. As a result, nonprofits have to figure out a way to stay afloat and provide for workers while the government expands on programs that only supplement not replace the crucial work they are doing in China.

The journey for migrant workers, however, may look different. Some face the difficulties of not being paid fair wages or forces to work long hours in poor conditions yet others have found way to be successful business owners. In early Shenzhen, migrant workers were able to grow and develop as the city grew and developed. The local government ensured that the people living their had the resources they needed to thrive and many took advantage of such opportunities.Now, many migrant workers are centerboards providing goods and services to the diverse Shenzhen population. Public policy played a vital role in that phenomenon like allowing migrants to easily change their Hukou to the Shenzhen province. A Hukou is a residential status that determines your eligbility to governmental services according to your birthplace. The government’s direct and indirect support for ambitious and driven workers has made the city from 30 years ago look quite different and exciting.


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