Rate of illegal overstaying workers rises, Korean labor market may close

  • April 04, 2014

The rate of Vietnamese workers overstaying their visas in South Korea fell to nearly 39 percent last October, but the trend has since reversed and now stands at 49 percent, according to a conference on April 2.

Korean labor market, overseas workers

Authorities are concerned that if the rate is not improved, the Korean labor market will be closed to Vietnamese workers.

South Korea recently resumed receiving Vietnamese workers after a suspension in late 2012 on the grounds that the rate of Vietnamese workers who illegally remained in the country after their labor contracts expired was too high, about 50 percent.

According to Mr. Luong Duc Long, Deputy Director of the Overseas Labor Management Center of the Ministry of Labor, Ward Invalids and Social Affairs, the primary cause of this situation is that the workers are too selfish and disregard the law. They deliberately overstay to reside and work illegally for their own economic benefits, disregarding national interests and paying no heed to the risk that their actions may deprive tens of thousands of other workers of similar opportunities.

Mr. Choi Byung Gie, Director of the Licensing Program for Foreign Workers in Korea, said currently there are about 14,000 illegal Vietnamese workers in his country, accounting for 40 percent of the total number of illegal foreign workers from 15 countries.

He went on to say that Vietnam’s sanctions are not tough enough. For example, the fines imposed on such workers recently increased to VND80-100 million ($4,000-$5,000) but many workers are ready to pay the fines because they can cover them after only three months of work.

In this regard, Deputy Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa said it is very difficult to fine these workers because the authorities cannot contact them. Their families in Vietnam always claim that they are poor and unable to pay the fine.

Hoa concluded that the most important measure is to strengthen propaganda to workers and their families.

Thu Ly


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