Labour exports hurt by lack of foreign language skills

by VOV10 December 2016 Last updated at 07:08 AM

VTV.vn - Few countries have as many of their citizens working abroad as Vietnam, or depend so greatly on labour exports for economic vitality, says the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

According to the Department, it has supplied an enormous amount of guest workers, nearly 55,600 to foreign markets under official arrangements since 2011, eight out of 10 of whom were unskilled workers.

Out of the total some 31,000 guest workers went to the Japanese market; 12,000 to Taiwan; 5,000 to Malaysia; 3,500 to the Republic of Korea (ROK); and 4,100 worked in other markets.

The jobs created for these workers provided a lifeline for these workers and their families to get financially ahead, lift themselves out of poverty and learn life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Nguyen Thi Ly, headmaster of Thu Duc College of Technology, noted that as many as 300 of the school’s graduates had been placed by the Department to work in Japan and all of them are excited about the high rate of pay they earn.

One graduate reported he saved US$40,000 after working just three years in Japan.

Huynh Ho Dai Nghia from the Labour Export Department of the Saigon Garment Company echoed Mr Ly’s comments, noting that nearly all workers sent to the Japanese market reported the salaries are high.

Not only do they describe being able to save a lot of money, said Mr Nghia, but almost all of them say they returned home with broader knowledge and professional working skills. A few even reported they saved enough money and got the skills to start their own businesses.

Nguyen Xuan Lanh, an assistant to director of Esuhai Company that employs thousands of workers for businesses in Japan, Taiwan and the ROK, also noted these markets have high demands and opportunities for guest workers to earn large sums.

The company earlier this year sent nearly 1,000 engineers and trainees to Japan and all report the money is excellent, he noted.

However, far too many guest workers are being held back by their lack of foreign language skills said Tran Viet Phu, deputy director of HCM City Vocational College of Economics and Technology.

The City currently has 46 companies and 23 branches that are qualified to export labour abroad, said Mr Phu.

In addition, the City’s vocational colleges have signed training agreements with Japan and the ROK to train workers. However, the number of trainees is not sufficient to meet the actual demand, most notably due to lack of foreign language qualifications.

Due to the cost and time consideration, some companies have been cutting corners and not paying proper attention to ensuring workers are adequately trained prior to sending them overseas.

Most notably they do not meet the foreign language working requirements and as a result they cannot function in a foreign environment and their labour contracts are consequently being terminated early.

Consequently, the lack of foreign language skills is holding labour exports back, noted Mr Phu.

To boost labour exports, controls need to be put in place to better train and test candidates for the guest worker program to develop a workforce with high-level foreign language skills adequate for employment abroad.



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