Sunday , October 2 2022

Vietnam province struggles to prevent natives from overstaying in South Korea


The central province of Thanh Hoa is unable to persuade around 900 workers to return home instead of staying on illegally in South Korea.

Of 6,000 Thanh Hoa residents that have gone to work in South Korea, 900 have either stayed in the country after their working visa expired or breached contracts to work for other companies, said Le Thanh Tung, deputy head of the province’s labor department.

The province’s Dong Son and Hoang Hoa districts have been stopped from recruiting laborers to work in South Korea, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs said in June.

A Vietnamese laborer works illegally at a factory in South Korea in 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Hung

A Vietnamese laborer works illegally at a factory in South Korea in 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Hung

Tung said the relatively high payment offered by firms in South Korea is why migrant workers choose to overstay or break the contract they’d signed despite knowing that it is illegal. In some cases, the payment is 7-10 times higher than in Vietnam, he said.

They cannot find jobs with similar remuneration after they return to Vietnam, Tung said at a conference on labor exports held in the province Tuesday.

At the same time, many employers in South Korea want to hire those with expired visas, because it means they do not have to sign contracts and cover insurance for the employees.

“There are regulations to sanction such workers, but as they are still living abroad, authorities here cannot do anything,” Tung said.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Saigon Insergco, which specializes in sending Vietnamese citizens abroad to work, said workers overstaying or breaking contracts not only affect the image of Vietnam but will also prompt many countries to tighten regulations on recruiting Vietnamese.

In fact, other countries could refuse to take in Vietnamese workers, as South Korea did between 2012 and 2016.

According to industry insiders, the fees, including the “brokerage fees” that workers have to pay to labor export firms, create a burden that forces them to try and earn as much money as quickly as possible.

Workers are required to make a pre-departure deposit worth VND100 million ($4,300) to guarantee their return to Vietnam after their contract expires.

State agencies have been asked to closely inspect the collection of fees by labor export companies and severely punish wrongdoings, including strict sanctions that act as a deterrent to overstays and breaches of contracts.

Laborers were checked before taking a language test to go to work in South Korea in Hanoi in 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Workers are screened before taking a language test to go to work in South Korea in Hanoi in 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

In the long term, the government should come up with solutions to create jobs for laborers returning from working broadly as in reality, many people have been left jobless after getting back to Vietnam, they said.

They also proposed the labor ministry negotiates extending the contract for Vietnamese migrant workers to five years instead of just three years as currently.

According to the department, Vietnamese workers in South Korea earn up to $1,800 a month.

They mainly work aboard fishing vessels or in agriculture and fisheries.

More than 600,000 Vietnamese work in 50 countries and territories, including 250,000 in Japan, 230,000 in Taiwan and 40,000 in South Korea.

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