HA NOI — Viet Nam must take measures to reduce instances where workers stay on illegally in South Korea when their contracts expire to a considerable extent by late 2013, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan at a conference on labour co-operation between Viet Nam and South Korea held yesterday in northern Hai Duong Province.
|Students from Bac Can Vocational School are among those who end up working overseas. Steps will be taken to ensure that these guest workers return. At present, many opt to stay behind when their terms end. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Viet
The conference, attended by Governmental senior officials of both Viet Nam and South Korea, marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The goal was to review the results of the bilateral co-operation and discuss solutions for existing labour problems.
In particular, Nhan requested that 12 cities and provinces from central Nghe An Province to the north agree on what to do about workers who stayed illegally. Ha Noi, Nghe An and Hai Duong – the three provinces and cities with the largest number of workers who stayed illegally (over 300 each) – were given special reminders.
Upon his request, such cities and provinces must issue resolutions to put an end to the situation by October this year.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs was also asked to consider holding on to part of the worker's remittances for their families prior to their return to Viet Nam.
Particularly, the South Korea - based Labour Management Board might keep 15 per cent of the remittances from the workers' bank accounts until they return home, while South Korean enterprises' allowance of a month's salary upon contract termination will only be paid after their return.
Nhan said relevant ministries, agencies and localities needed to step up activities to raise the awareness of Vietnamese workers about their responsibilities towards their own country and the importance of respecting the law of South Korea.
Nhan also asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the South Korea - based Labour Management Board to increase supervision of migrant workers and instigate appropriate punishment in localities where too many workers attempt to stay illegally.
He asked relevant ministries and localities to take drastic measures to promote sending Vietnamese workers to South Korea and make workers aware they must strictly abide by the laws of the two countries.
Nhan suggested South Korea offer detailed procedures to extend the stay of Vietnamese workers, work out punishments towards South Korean enterprises that help workers stay illegally and work with Viet Nam to agree on measures to encourage workers to return when their contracts expire.
South Korea recently issued policies allowing the extension of workers' stay for between another 10 months to a year and the return of qualified workers to South Korea if they pass a South Korean language examination. But many Vietnamese workers are not aware of these new measures.
Nhan said that co-operation between Viet Nam and South Korea in vocational training, labour safety and gender equality promotion has achieved positive results and helped contribute to the development in human resources in sectors concerning social policies in Viet Nam.
Most of the attendants agreed that Vietnamese workers in South Korea enjoyed high income and favourable working conditions, that the recruitment process was fairly conducted and that it was easy and reasonably inexpensive.
They said Vietnamese workers were highly appreciated for their diligence and adaptability, which might explain why Viet Nam has always ranked among the top countries with workers employed by South Korean companies.
The co-operation in labour supply and use between Viet Nam and South Korea began in 1993. So far, Vietnamese workers have been sent to South Korea in three ways: via the employment permit system (EPS), working for fishing ships and working in highly skilled professions.
There are currently about 75,000 Vietnamese workers working in South Korea, of which nearly 70,000 were sent there under the agreement between Viet Nam's Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and South Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labour.
Vietnamese enterprises each year send about 1,000 people to work in fishing ships, more than 200 engineers and experts to work via the Yellow Card Programme and several hundreds of technical workers via the E7 Visa Programme, mostly in highly skilled professions.
A majority of Vietnamese workers in South Korea work in production and manufacturing (over 78 per cent), followed by more than 9 per cent working in construction and another 10.5 per cent in agriculture. The rest work in fishery (1.7 per cent) and the service sector (0.2 per cent).
Vietnamese workers in South Korea have been reported to send back over US$600 million in remittances to their families each year. — VNS