Labour Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen tells Thoi Bao Kinh Te (Economic Times) about potential ways to stop Vietnamese workers from illegally extending their stay in South Korea, such as stepping up educational efforts and increasing fines.
What is the ministry's employment plan for 2014?
Four employment centers in Da Nang City, Dong Nai Province, Can Tho Province and Hai Duong Province have begun operations, trying to increase the number of their transaction cycles.
We hope these centers will help job-seekers access employment opportunities in the fastest, most economical way. Vocational training for poor people and soldiers who have completed their service will also be a focus.
Another key task that the ministry has set itself for the year is to seek new markets for labour export.
Speaking of labour export, South Korea has been said to be a market with significant potential, but we are facing problems because many Vietnamese workers do not return after their contracts expire. How will the ministry address this problem?
I signed a Memorandum of Understanding on sending and receiving Vietnamese workers with the Minister of Employment and Labor of South Korea last December to resume the employment permit system (EPS).
This is the result of efforts made by both sides for the whole of last year, aggressively carrying out measures to reduce the number of workers failing to return after expiry of their contracts.
On our side, we have tried to educate all Vietnamese workers in South Korea about their contractual obligations and the need to abide by laws of both nations. As a result, the rate of Vietnamese workers not returning home after their contracts expire reduced from 53 per cent in 2012 to 38 per cent in 2013.
We have to continue to address this issue aggressively if we are to sign the Memorandum of Understanding by the end of this year. We plan to do this through five broad measures.
First, we will focus on educating Vietnamese workers in South Korea of their obligations and the advisability of abiding by the law and the provisions of their contracts; and return home as stipulated.
Second, violations will be strictly penalized.
Third, we will improve our oversight and management of Vietnamese workers in South Korea in co-operation with Korean authorities. Our newly-established Labour Management Office in South Korea will boost its co-operation with the country's relevant agencies.
Fourth, we will be more active in implementing programmes to support those who return home after their contracts expire.
Finally, we will provide better pre-departure training for Vietnamese workers so that they are more disciplined and have a better attitude towards their legal obligations. — VNS