Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh drew the special attention of the public when he said that “Labor export is a disgrace of the nation”.
Vinh made the statement in the context of Vietnam being a big labor export country. Every year, Vietnam exports tens of thousands of laborers, mostly to industrialized countries.
Phuong Ngoc Thach, a renowned economist, agreeing with Vinh, said that labor export is not something Vietnamese can be proud of. He said he feels great anguish about that.
According to Thach, Vietnamese labor is not highly respected. In other words, Vietnamese have been working as hired workers, and in many cases, they have been exploited and assaulted.
Like other kinds of commodities, when the supply increases, the importers will lower the prices.
Vietnam began exporting laborers in 1980. The country believed that the income from the labor export has helped improve people’s lives and contribute to the country’s development.
Exporting labor is considered one of the business fields which can bring high socio-economic benefits, and an important solution to create jobs.
Exporting laborers must not be seen as a long term solution to the economy, experts have recommended.
He also disagrees with the viewpoint that when the national economy is still facing difficulties, exporting labor could be the solution not only for families but also for the nation.
Thach stressed that when the national economy doesn’t create jobs, the labor export step-up will cause uncertainties to the national economy.
Vietnam expects kieu hoi (overseas remittance) to be sent from overseas workers every year, believing that this is a big source of capital for economic development.
However, reports all show that most of the overseas remittance has been flowing into the real estate sector. The lending to export laborers to help them pay for expenses and the disbursement to help save the real estate market have driven the credit flow to the wrong addresses.
If the credit goes to production and business, serves technology development and investment expansion, the national economy will grow and the competitiveness can improve. Meanwhile, unreasonable policies have had impact on economic growth and job generation.
In late 20th century, Vietnamese economists began talking much about the need to develop internal resources. In the context of globalization, promoting internal resources to take initiative in development is a must. If not, Vietnam will only have one way – working as hired laborers for the world.