VIETNAM LABOUR EXPORT TO KOREA:
PROCESS, TREND AND CURRENT SITUATION
Student name: DAO NGUYEN Student number: 201389632 Date: March 7, 2014
Labour export is a process in which Vietnamese labour is provided to foreign companies that operate in Vietnam or other countries via term labour contracts (Bao, 2013) .
The activity started in the early 1980s when young people and workers were sent to Eastern European countries (Poland, Hungary, Germany, Russia, etc.) to take apprenticeship under the government’s cooperation policies. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union that led to the decline of the original markets, Vietnam turned to explore new markets while still kept sending workers to some traditional partners (Russia, Germany, etc.). Moving to the 21st century, Vietnam has expanded into new markets in Asia (Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, etc.), Europe (Italy, Poland, German, Russia, etc.), Africa (South Africa, Congo, etc.) and other markets around the world (Huy, 2008). According to the Ministry of Labour – Invalids and social affairs (“MOLISA”), until 2012, Vietnam has exported more than 500,000 workers in about 30 different job categories to 40 countries and territories worldwide. In 2013 specifically, Vietnam exported more than 78,000 workers. Currently, the largest markets are Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan and Korea (Vietnamplus.vn, 2013).
According to the MOLISA, the majority of Vietnamese exported labourers work in unskilled job classes such as machinery production, construction, agriculture, elderly care, garment and housekeepers. However, there is increasing skilled labour demand in nurses, hospital orderlies and engineers from some markets such as Japan and Germany (Nam, 2013). Korea and Japan are considered high class markets that offer high salaries to workers. In Korea, Jobs offered to Vietnamese workers are usually in manufacturing, construction, fishery and agriculture industries.
2. Research question: labour export to South Korea: the process, trend and current situation.
There are various channels through which workers are exported such as offshore work terms under an agreement between the two governments, labour cooperation and specialists exchange contracts, contractor and construction contracts, joint ventures and foreign investments vehicles, direct contracts between workers and foreign employers and labour export through Vietnamese labour service enterprises, etc. In the context of this research, the most common means of exporting to be examined is via labour supplying companies.
Generally, companies that provide labour exporting services would need certifications from the MOLISA besides having to comply with common business laws. Until 2008 there were 157 companies, of which 67% were allocated in Northern Vietnam, especially in Hanoi, and the rest were in Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) (“Statistics,” n.d.)
A standard recruitment process is that the labour supplying companies (also the recruitment agencies) work with its foreign partners to announce job positions in demand. Workers who want to participate in the exporting program have to contact the recruiter and pay deposits for recruitment services, training and administration expenses at cost of at least 1 month basic salary. However, the payment does not guarantee that the worker will have a successful job application. Workers need to pass exams regarding vocational and language skills and have medical check-ups before they sign contracts. During the time working abroad, workers are not taxed” (Kanika, 2007).
Implementing a similar but more rigorous process, the Korean government uses the Employment Permit System (“EPS”) program; which tightens the requirements from workers and binds them to several agreements in order to reduce the contract breaking and illegal work and residences (Anh, 2008). Besides the advantages it brings, the program may also put workers into