Vietnam’s export of labourers to the Middle East and North African countries has yet to meet the abundant potential of cooperation between the two sides.

The assessment was given during talks on labour cooperation between Vietnam and businesses from the Middle East and North Africa in Hanoi on November 5.

According to the Department of Overseas Labour Management under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam and the Middle East and North Africa have enjoyed a decade of cooperation in the field.

About 30,000 Vietnamese employees are working in countries in the regions, especially in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Libya and Algeria.

With the economic recovery, some countries are resuming their demands for imported labour, the department added.

The major difficulties facing Vietnamese labourers in the host countries are cultural shock and a language barrier, as well as competition from other markets such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka , the Philippines and Thailand.

Palestine Ambassador to Vietnam Saadi Salama said although Vietnamese workers are hardworking and skilled, a contingent workforce has yet to meet the increasing requirements of the potential markets in the Middle East and North Africa.

He suggested that Vietnam should establish training centres that introduce culture and traditional practices of the host countries for labourers.

Sharing Salama’s opinion, Vietnamese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Tran Nguyen Tuyen said it is crucial to outline a long-term cooperation strategy with the Middle East and North African markets with specific targets and steps.

The event was organised alongside the first economic cooperation forum between Vietnam and Middle East and North African partners.-VNA