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Korean work dreams shattered by ministry decision

Update: May, 22/2018 - 08:42
There are 49 districts that will not be allowed to send workers to work in Korea this year, reducing nine districts in comparison with 2017.— Photo

HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Văn Thắng had a dream. A dream that would improve his life, and the life of his family.

To achieve it, he had to quit his masonry job and study Korean, because that was where he wanted to work.

Born to a family living below the poverty line in central Thanh Hóa Province’s Hoằng Hóa District, Thắng was forced to quit school to concentrate on earning a living.

At 20-years-old he was earning just VNĐ3-3.5 million (US$133-155) per month. It was time for change. And that change meant moving to Korea.

But Thắng’s dream came crumbling down after the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs earlier this month announced that Hoằng Hóa District where he lives is among districts that have suspended sending workers to Korea to work.

The decision means residents in 49 districts of 12 cities and provinces that have more than 30 per cent of guest workers who do not return home after their contracts expired will not qualify for the programme.

It also includes those areas that currently have more than 60 people working illegally in the country.

 “I think the decision was unreasonable,” Thắng told Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.

“It cost me more than VNĐ20 million ($888) to study Korean language for two years. We did nothing wrong but we have to take the responsibility for what those violated workers in Korea had committed.”

 “I hope that authorised agencies will look at removing the ban,” Thắng said.

Like Thắng, Nguyễn Thị Y, from Hoằng Hóa District, also dreamed of going to Korea to work but she was now discouraged by the ban.

“People say that it is not easy to go to Korea to work. Doing a Korean language test is not easy and even if you pass the exam, you may not be chosen. Now the ban for workers in districts with high rate of guest workers who do not return home after work contracts expired reduces the opportunities for workers like me,” she said.

Y has studied Korean language for two years but she still failed the test.

“If I could not pass the Korean language test again this year, I will return home to work as a garment worker at a local industrial zone,” she told the newspaper.

According to the latest announcement from the ministry, there are 49 districts that will not be allowed to send workers to work in Korea this year, reducing nine districts in comparison with 2017. However, the figure is still high, meaning that thousands of workers are unable to work in Korea this year.

Deputy director of the ministry’s Centre for Overseas Labour Phạm Ngọc Lan said a number of localities such as Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Hải Dương and Thanh Hóa still had the highest number of districts that were banned from sending labourers to Korea.

“It was announced that if the number and the rate of violated guest workers from these localities do not decline by the end of 2018, the ban will continue in 2019,” she told the newspaper.

According to a representative from the ministry’ Department of Overseas Labour Management, the department has taken many measures to reduce the rate of guest workers who do not return home after work contracts expired such as increasing information dissemination about abiding by regulations and mobilising their families and local authorities to call them return home.

Other measures include requiring workers to pay a deposit of VNĐ100 million ($4,400) before going to Korea, co-ordinating with Korean authorities to increase inspection and supervision and expel illegal workers and stopping recruiting workers from districts with high rate of illegal workers.

As one among localities with highest rate of illegal workers in Korea, authorities of central Nghệ An Province have also taken many steps to reduce the number of illegal workers in Korea.

Đặng Cao Thắng, deputy director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the province was very sorry to have many districts to be banned. Local authorities have co-ordinated with relevant agencies to increase information dissemination for local residents and workers.

Many local workers felt it was unfair they could not go to Korea to work because of mistakes caused by other workers, he said.

He proposed higher fines for violated workers.

Deputy Director of the ministry’s Department of Overseas Labour Management Nguyễn Gia Liêm said the actions of a few had a huge impact.

This was a particular concern after the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries to provide more Vietnamese workers in the coming year.

As a result, the programme was suspended, he said.

However, the rate of Vietnamese workers in Korea not returning home has dropped recently, from 50 per cent in 2000 to 34 per cent at present. Therefore, Korea decided to continue signing the MoU with Việt Nam.

Regarding the decision to not allow 49 districts to send workers to Korea, Liêm said the ministry was trying to take measures to improve the situation and reduce the number of districts that are banned from sending workers to Korea. — VNS









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