The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Overseas Labour Management Department deputy head, Dao Cong Hai, spoke with Tin Tuc (News) about improving human resources for labour export.
How do you evaluate the country's labour export situation in 2013 and its contribution to socio-economic development?
According to department statistics, Viet Nam sent 85,000 workers abroad in 2013. They met the targets of last year and saw an increase of around 6 per cent when compared to the previous year.
This is primarily due to the sudden change in the number of overseas workers in the Taiwan market. By the end of November 2013, the number of people going to work in Taiwan was 41,713, which registered a rise of more than 11,000 workers when compared to 2012.
In addition to this, there was stability in other labour markets such as Japan and Malaysia.
Viet Nam currently has around 500,000 workers who have been working under contracts in 40 countries and territories worldwide. Overseas Vietnamese workers have sent an annual average of US$2-2.2 billion that has helped thousands of families and workers escape poverty and embrace affluence.
During the last five years, the number of people going abroad for work has reached around 80,000, and this has helped reduce job pressure inside the country.
Overseas workers also had a chance to learn new skills and work towards improving their foreign language fluency.
What are popular fields that greatly require our labour?
Vietnamese labourers overseas have been working mainly in the fields of machinery production, construction, agriculture, elderly care, garments, as housekeepers and as high-skilled workers in some markets.
However, each market has different demands. For example, Japan's market has strict requirements of knowledge, skills, discipline, and health conditions. Japanese trade unions usually go to Viet Nam for direct interviews and to select employees.
The average income level of overseas Vietnamese workers fluctuates between $300 and $2,000 depending on the field, country and the professional skill.
For example, a common worker going to work in Malaysia would have an income between $350 and 450 per month.
In Japan and South Korea, workers in a manufacturing and production factory receive between $800 and $1,500 monthly.
Viet Nam is focusing on sending highly skilled workers abroad. How will training and selection for these workers be implemented?
Viet Nam is focusing on training management-oriented education and training reform. It is also implementing training support projects for enterprises in an effort to encourage enterprises to conduct training programmes that meet the demand of employers.
With a highly skilled labour force market, Viet Nam is leading the markets of Japan and some European countries. Germany and Japan currently receive applications for the positions of hospital orderlies and nurses. Workers for these markets are selected carefully, and it takes much more time than it does for other markets.
Selected workers must join longer training programmes compared to others. However, the income from these markets is higher than in other countries.
It is a good opportunity for Vietnamese workers to work in countries that have a highly developed healthcare field. However, the development of highly skilled workers still depends on the individual's capacity for learning foreign languages.
What are the measures planned for the country's labour export development in 2014?
Priority will be placed on sending skilled and trained workers to work abroad in 2014. As for the labour market, we will continue to consolidate and maintain Taiwan and Japan's markets and expect to see some signs of recovery in the Middle Eastern market.
However, we are still facing difficulties due to the global economic depression that is still underway and has deepened in the international labour market.
In addition, there was severe competition between labour export countries in the South East and South Asian regions such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The problems lay mainly in the fact that the quality of the Vietnamese labour force hasn't met the required demands, especially in the areas of foreign language and discipline. It will be a great challenge for Viet Nam to compete with other labour-exporting countries.
Moreover, service companies should actively look for and exploit new markets by seeking new partners for supply contracts. In new markets, the department and companies will ask Vietnamese embassies or foreign affairs representatives to verify an employer's legal status and working conditions. — VNS