Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa spoke to Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper about the risks for Viet Nam to lose labour export markets due to the poor training of guest workers.
Is Viet Nam losing any of its key labour export markets?
In Japan, Malaysia and the Middle East, more Vietnamese guest workers are reported to break labour contracts than from other countries. The crucial problem is the poor awareness of the workers. And since the workers have to pay large sums of money up front for the chance to work aboard, they tend to break contracts to seek higher paying jobs or illegally stay over for earn enough money to cover the advanced payments. Guest workers in South Korea and Taiwan have also been reported to commit violations, which has affected the overall labour export market.
What are measures to tackle the problem and minimise its impacts?
Recipient countries have warned of putting a halt to admitting Vietnamese guest workers, but Viet Nam's response, as might have been expected, hasn't been effective. However, current visible risk has forced the labour ministry to take more drastic measures. For example, since the beginning of this year, the ministry's Overseas Labour Management Department and Overseas Work Centre (OWC) sent staff to the hometowns of guest workers, encouraging them to return home after labour contracts were completed. The OWC also assigned staff to reach workplaces in South Korea to help Vietnamese workers learn more about labour export policies and encourage them to strictly adhere to labour contract conditions.
Enrollment for workers to go aboard has stopped in some localities notorious for large numbers of guest workers who have broken contracts. In an effort to curb the problem, Vietnamese authorities have worked with their counterparts in other countries to strictly punish employers who hire illegal workers.
The ministry is set to submit to the Prime Minister a report about guest workers in South Korea and recommend halting recruitments in localities with high rates of contract-breaking workers. The move could reduce the number of guest workers but is needed to ensure the quality of labour export.
In 2004, Taiwan halted imports of Vietnamese labourers to work as fishermen and domestic help. Have we learned a lesson from this?
The ministry has warned labour export companies about the reduction of guest worker numbers. It's time to think about the improvement of quality rather than quantity. To solve the problem, it's necessary to first identify the reason why more guest workers in Taiwan broke their contracts. There is a phenomenon that Taiwanese companies rent out licences to recruit Vietnamese guest workers. These companies corner the labour export market, forcing workers to pay higher fees than regulated if they want to work aboard. To ease the phenomenon, the ministry will co-operate local authorities to inspect the operation of companies involved in the labour export process. For Vietnamese companies, strict punishments would include loss of licence if they were found to transfer their licences to Taiwanese companies. — VNS