Vietnam and South Korea Strengthen Cooperation in Labor

Vietnam has proposed that South Korea broaden the types of industries and jobs available in order to create more employment opportunities for Vietnamese workers.

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Vietnam and RoK Strengthen Cooperation in Labor
Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung and Korean Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jung Sik. Photo: Molisa

On the afternoon of June 21, in Hanoi, Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung had a meeting with Korean Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jung Sik on the occasion of his visit and working in Vietnam.

The meeting aims to prepare for the State visit to Vietnam of Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol from June 22 to 24.

In Vietnam, the number of workers wishing to work in the RoK is increasing. Currently, there are more than 32,000 Vietnamese workers working in the RoK under the EPS program.

At the meeting, Minister Dao Ngoc Dung emphasized that the friendship between Vietnam and the RoK is a special relationship, with a long tradition and effective development, including cooperation in labor, employment and social security.

Discussing the reception of Vietnamese workers under the job permit program for foreign workers of the RoK (EPS program), which is jointly implemented by the two ministries since 2004, Minister Dao Ngoc Dung assessed that the program was implemented in a fair, objective, transparent and effective manner.

It brings many high-income jobs to Vietnamese workers, as well as contributes to the development of Korean businesses.

In Vietnam, the number of laborers wishing to go to the RoK to work is increasing in all three regions of Vietnam. Currently, there are more than 32,000 Vietnamese workers working in the RoK under the EPS program. In the first 5 months of 2023, more than 5,000 workers came to the RoK under this program with an income of US$1,500-2,000/person per month.

According to Minister Dao Ngoc Dung, Korean workers coming to Vietnam are given the best conditions by the Vietnamese government. Korean corporations are given favorable conditions in terms of location and human resources in provinces with strong economic development such as Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK in the field of occupational safety is also effective. The RoK supported Vietnam to build inspection centers and provide guidance on occupational safety. Korean corporations and factories are using workers who benefit from these centers.

Regarding coordination in vocational training, the Korean side supported Vietnam in training high-quality human resources.

Referring to the bilateral agreement between the two governments on social insurance, Minister Dao Ngoc Dung said that the two countries’ agencies are agreeing on the final steps of the bilateral social insurance, avoiding the need for workers to pay twice.

Vietnam and RoK Strengthen Cooperation in Labor
Overview of the meeting. Photo: Molisa

On the occasion of the visit of the Korean Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jung Sik, Minister Dao Ngoc Dung proposed that the RoK expand the number of industries, occupations and fields where Vietnam has advantages and continue to admit more Vietnamese workers in the coming time.

“Currently, the new EPS program only meets about 30% of the job demand. Meanwhile, many countries raised questions with the Ministry about adjusting the quotas to bring Vietnamese workers to those countries.

However, the Ministry wants to choose suitable markets with cohesion, and that country needs to pay attention to the interests of workers. Therefore, I hope that the RoK expand the industries and occupations to increase opportunities for Vietnamese workers in this market,” Minister Dao Ngoc Dung said.

Minister Lee Jung Sik emphasized that from 2022, senior leaders of the two countries agreed to elevate the relationship between the two countries to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Evaluating the EPS program, Korean Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jung Sik said that this is a special program and achieved good results in recent times.

Some Vietnamese workers after returning home successfully started their businesses and have a good life. Others became ambassadors for the EPS program with its benefits in poverty reduction and job creation.

Minister Lee Jung Sik hopes that when re-signing the memorandum, the two sides will enter a new phase of the EPS program.

He also thanked Minister Dao Ngoc Dung for paying attention to Korean workers, especially in granting permits for foreign workers to work in Vietnam.

Regarding Minister Dao Ngoc Dung’s proposal to increase the number of Vietnamese workers to the RoK to work under the EPS program, Minister Lee Jung Sik affirmed that he would report to the Korean Government. He hopes this proposal will soon be implemented in the near future.

Rosie Nguyen