Taiwan and Japan are expected to remain the top destinations for Vietnamese workers this year with 90 percent of all overseas employees working there. (Photo: vov.vn)


Taiwan (China) and Japan are expected to remain the topdestinations for Vietnamese workers this year with 90 percent of all overseasemployees working there.

Nguyen Gia Liem, deputydirector of the Department of Overseas Labour told a workshop on Vietnam’s labourexport held in Quang Ninh province on October 4 that Japan in particular wasthe market of greatest potential for Vietnamese workers.

“Japan doesn’t only pay well but also is a market of cutting-edge science andtechnology with highly skilled labour,” Nghiem said.

Japan and Taiwan, however, were not the only markets receiving Vietnameseworkers.

Deputy Minister of Labour,Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha said up to one million workers havedecided to work overseas under official contracts since 2006.

Labour export helped to alleviate the burden of creating jobs for the country’syoung and dense population, she said, which provided employment forapproximately 10 percent of the labour force.

While Vietnam continued sending most of its workers to its main labour marketsin East Asia, Middle East and Malaysia, the Government is looking to expand itspool of receiving countries, the deputy minister said.

Brunei, Singapore and Saudi Arabia recently started taking in Vietnameseworkers while other developed nations like Australia, the United States andCanada as well as European markets like Finland and Italy were alsodestinations workers were heading.

Market expansion was in line with an increase of occupations Vietnamese peopleare taking, Ha said, including many opting to work in the health sector asnurses and auxiliary staff.

The outlook for labourexport may be bright, but the key challenge for Vietnamese workers to takeadvantage of such opportunity was their low skills, which greatly hindered themfrom higher incomes.

Professor Nguyen Canh Toan at Thang Long University said the rate of skilledlabour barely reached 20 to 30 percent of the total overseas workers. Most ofthem, in fact, had manual jobs.

According to Toan, a Vietnamese worker’s monthly income minus living expense inmarkets of low pay like Malaysia ranged between 3 and 4 million VND (130-173USD) or from 7 million to 12 million VND in middle-paying countries includingthose in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The workers could earn up to 15million to 20 million VND in top paying markets like Japan, the Republic ofKorea and Taiwan.

While English is considered to be “the key to open treasures” when workingoverseas, it was one of the weakest skills of Vietnamese labour, Professor Toansaid.

The average IELTS score of Vietnamese overseas workers stood at only 5.78,putting them in the low-middle group in terms of English proficiency, he said,lagging behind other ASEAN countries like Malaysia (6.64 points) and thePhilippines (6.53 points).

Vietnam Labour Export Association Vice Chairman Nguyen Ngoc Quynh agreed thatpoor English was one of the biggest disadvantages of Vietnamese labour besidestheir disrespect to discipline.

“Many employers have said Vietnamese workers are hard-working but not followingset rules and protocols,” Quynh said.

“Foreign companies now have to spend more time training our workers than thosefrom other countries. But the training does bring out clear results, forexample, workers in Japan after training have relatively good behaviour andquickly adapt to the new working environment.”

Professor Toan said the Government had to find a way to improve the quality ofthe workers for their own sake as countries who set high demands for skills anddiscipline would also have very attractive salaries and good workingconditions.

“Overseas workers now bring back 2.5-3 million USD of remittances every year.If we can enhance the quality and send them to developed markets to work, theremittance amount will surely be even higher,” he said./. VNA