Viet Nam News
Phạm Viết Hương, deputy director of the Overseas Labour Export Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affaris, speaks to the Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) newspaper about Việt Nam’s resolve to improve the skills of its workers abroad.
What lessons were learned in the export of labour in 2016?
In 2016, we sent a total of 126,296 workers abroad, with women accounting for 36.45 per cent. That surpassed the target of 26.29 per cent.
Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea are top the list of Việt Nam’s labour export markets. Taiwan ranks first with 68,244 workers, followed by Japan with 39,938, and then by South Korea with 8,482 workers.
I should say that the signing of a programme on Employment Permit System (EPS) between Việt Nam and South Korea in 2016 was remarkable. Việt Nam organised two Korean language examinations to select 2,100 workers for the manufacturing sector in South Korea and 1,300 for the fishery sector. They are expected to go to South Korea in the first half of 2017.
However, more than 16,000 Vietnamese workers have completed their labour contracts in South Korean companies under the EPS programme, but refuse to return home. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has worked closely with relevant agencies and localities to reduce the number of illegal Vietnamese workers in South Korea.
Japan is a tough labour export market for Việt Nam as its requirements are very high. However, in 2016 we successfully sent 40,000 workers there – an increase of 27,000 against the previous year. This is an acknowledgement by Japanese firms of the high skills possessed by Vietnamese workers.
Though the number of Vietnamese working abroad has increased considerably in the last three years, we have to admit that job skill demands have become tougher. Japan, South Korea and Germany are the most demanding markets.
Does the MOLISA have any plan to improve the labour skills for guest workers?
The Overseas Labour Export Department under the MOLISA will continue to focus more on training workers for potential export. In 2017 we will complete a proposal for such training and present it to the Prime Minister for approval.
There is quite a lot of work to do to prepare a worker to go abroad, ranging from skills, foreign language ability, health checks and more. All these require us to come up with detailed plans. Meanwhile, the Government has to adopt special credit programmes for enterprises engaged in training workers. I’m pretty sure that with a concerted effort from the MOLISA and due attention from the Government, plus a co-operative attitude from training enterprises, more skilled Vietnamese workers will go to work abroad.
How do you project the labour export market for Việt Nam in 2017?
This year, we set a plan to send 105,000 workers to work abroad, particularly Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Besides these main labour markets we are also trying to complete labour agreements with Thailand, Laos and Australia so that we can send more Vietnamese workers there. We’ll continue to send nurses and hospital orderlies to Japan and Germany to work under agreements signed between Việt Nam and the two countries. — VNS