Vietnam stops 10 provinces from exporting laborers to South Korea

August 1, 2016 | 01:48 am PT
Illegal workers overstaying their visas have forced the government to act.

Vietnam's labor ministry has said it will stop sending workers from 10 out of Vietnam's 63 provinces to South Korea this year.

The ministry said in a document dated July 29 that 44 districts in the 10 provinces that have more than 60 laborers working illegally in South Korea will be prohibited from sending more workers to the country.

The ministry will also consider another 46 districts where the rate of workers who have refused to return to Vietnam after their contracts expired is over 35 percent.

Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said that Vietnamese employees choose to stay in South Korea after their contracts expire because they can make more than $1,000 a month. Vietnam's average annual income was around $2,111 last year, according to the World Bank.

“If these people head back to Vietnam, it’s difficult for them to find jobs with similarly high wages," Diep said. "However, a large number illegal employees over the last three years has prevented about 35,000-40,000 other Vietnamese people from working in South Korea.”

Last year, Vietnam was the top labor exporter to South Korea, but that included around 15,000 illegal workers, equivalent to 35 percent of the total, while that of other countries varied from 15-17 percent.

Vietnam started sending workers to South Korea in 1993, but Seoul stopped accepting Vietnamese employees in 2012 after many broke their contracts or didn’t return to Vietnam after their contracts expired. In 2013, South Korean resumed the flow of Vietnamese labor but limited the level.

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