A string of actions against the employment of illegal Vietnamese guest workers that overstay their visas in the Republic of Korea (RoK) was proposed at a workshop held in Hanoi on July.

The recommendation follows a research conducted by the Department of Overseas Labour and the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, both under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, between November 2012 and May 2013 with the technical and financial assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

A total of 243 Vietnamese workers were surveyed, including 100 working legally in the RoK. The study highlights the reasons why workers decide not to return home but choose to work illegally in the country.

The first is rooted in their perception. They are tempted by economic gains which motivate them to continue their jobs in the country, even when their employment contracts have expired.

Moreover, Korean bosses are keen to hire workers without papers as it saves them time and money.

The absence of legal binds between labour suppliers like the Overseas Workers’ Centre and workers is also to blame. Vietnam’s management of its workforce in the RoK remains problematic, posing difficulties in the settlement of emerging issues. The country also lacks a database to keep track of guest workers.

Last but not least, penalties imposed by the Korean authorities are not strict enough to deter employers hiring illegal workers.

The study suggested opening a representative office of the Overseas Labour Centre in the RoK to promptly address disputes and enhance the role of Vietnam’s workforce management board in the host nation.

Participants at the event stressed the need to forge close links between the Vietnamese and RoK authorities, especially in the management of Vietnamese workers in the country. The Vietnamese side should raise workers’ awareness of the law, enhance local authorities’ role in recruitment and provide support for workers when they return home.

In the meantime, the Korean side should perfect its policies, overhaul the Employment Permit System (EPS) and crack down on violations.-VNA