Formosa spill spikes Vietnam's labor exports

By Ha Phuong   December 22, 2016 | 11:00 am PT
Half of the country's labor exports headed to Taiwan this year.  

Vietnam has sent mainly low and medium-skilled workers to over 50 countries around the world in recent years.

Experts made up a humble 0.18 percent of the 560,000 employees sent overseas since 2011, according to the Department of Overseas Labor.

During the first eleven months of the year, Vietnam sent around 108,000 people to work overseas.

Applicants for overseas work spiked in the third quarter following the toxic waste release at the Formosa Steel Plant in Ha Tinh Province this June.

The chemical release caused a massive fish death and virtually shut down the fishing industry in four central provinces.

By the end of August, Ha Tinh Province alone had sent 17,000 locals overseas to work, mainly in South Korea. 

Half of Vietnam's exiting workers tried their luck in Taiwan. The rest left for South Korea, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Labor exports have been touted as a solution to unemployment in rural areas.

The practice also provides remittances to those left behind. On average, 15-20 percent of total remittances comes from exported labor.

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