The Korean dream: Thousands of Vietnamese vie for jobs to 'turn life around'

By Giang Huy – Hoang Phuong   June 17, 2017 | 02:37 am PT
17,000 workers hope to get a job in South Korea this year. But first they have to pass a language test.

Thousands of people show up at the University of Labor and Social Affairs in Hanoi on Saturday morning for a Korean language test to win a labor ticket in South Korea. Nearly 17,000 were registered for the test, which was also held in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, but only 2,800 will be selected for manufacturing, construction and fishing jobs.


The jobseekers had to be at the test venue by 7 a.m. Many young hopefuls from rural provinces came to the capital the previous evening.


A jobseeker shows his ID to get through the gate. Many layers of security check are performed to prevent fraud and cheating.


Contestants have to walk past this metal detector to make sure they don't bring their phones and other electronic devices.


It's just like a security check at an airport.


A supervisor checks a test taker's ID.


Devices hidden in shoes are seized from a test taker. Those caught will be banned from the test for three years.


Workers in South Korea are paid an average of $1,000-1,500 a month, up to five times what these Vietnamese workers can earn in their hometown. Some pregnant women at the exam said they are willing to leave their babies behind if they can have a chance to “turn our life around.”

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