More than 2,300 workers from Nghe An, a province in north-central Vietnam, are unlawfully staying in South Korea after the expiry of their labor contracts to work there, according a report by the local work department.
The report, provided on Monday by the job and labor safety bureau under the Nghe An Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, said that 2,357 local workers were illegally staying in South Korea as of July 31.
Nghe An has so far sent 10,000 people to South Korea for work under the Employment Permit System, a labor migration program run by the Korean government. The workers in South Korea remit over US$109 million, equal to 43 percent of the total remittances wired by Nghe An people working overseas, annually to their families.
But many of such Vietnamese workers have arbitrarily changed places of residence in South Korea, failed to return to Vietnam as required by their contracts, or even illicitly stayed in the East Asian country since 2011.
Wages in South Korea are much higher than in Vietnam so these workers “did not want to go home,” according to the report.
An average worker pockets VND35 million ($1,510) a month after all other expenses have been deducted, the report said.
Vietnam’s per capita income is around $3,000 a year, according to updated figures.
South Korea has added Nghe An to a list of localities whose workers are banned from the EPS program, given such a number of people illegally staying there.
“These workers’ unlawful staying has created a bad impression and affected others who have learned Korean and really want to go to the country for work,” said Dang Thi Thanh Thuy, chief of the job and labor safety bureau.
The Nghe An Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs has taken many measures to prevent workers from illegally staying in South Korea, including the publication of their names in public notices.
Nghe An authorities have set a target to take the province off the list of banned localities in 2023.