Vietnam plans to send 100,000 guest workers abroad this year, but if figures from the first quarter are any indication, the target may prove elusive.
Labor agencies managed to send only 19,800 workers abroad over the period, according the Overseas Labor Management Department.
If this trend continues, sending 100,000 workers every year through 2015 will remain a "pipe dream," Tien Phong newspaper quoted the anonymous director of a labor agency as saying.
Though the ministry does not provide official figures, the director said many of the 160 companies licensed to supply workers to overseas markets are facing big losses due to decreasing demand.
Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen said Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan have been recruiting a limited number of Vietnamese workers since the start of 2013 due to the difficult global economic situation. They are among Vietnam's traditional labor markets.
South Korea, Vietnam's second biggest market, has recently stopped hiring Vietnamese after taking in 1,560 since the start of this year.
Many Vietnamese in South Korea overstay their visas after their work contracts end, prompting that country to make such a move, Chuyen said.
Last year only 9,000 workers went to Korea, which usually hires 15,000 a year.
It would be "extremely difficult" to meet the labor export target this year, she admitted.
Last year, 80,320 Vietnamese workers went abroad, 10 percent less than the government had targeted.
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