A representative of the Overseas Workers Center met Vietnamese guest workers in South Korea on December 16 with the message that they should return home as soon as their contracts expire.
With more than half of all Vietnamese workers overstaying their visa, South Korea is refusing to accept workers from the country.
Luong Duc Long, deputy director of the center, told the workers that of 17,471 Vietnamese in Korea whose contracts expired this year, only around 45 percent have returned home, news website Vietnamplus reported Monday.
Vietnam has acquired the dubious distinction of having the highest proportion of workers overstaying their visas in South Korea out of the 15 countries that send workers there.
More than 6,000 Vietnamese are legally working in the country now, and their contracts would expire next June, Long said.
The South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor informed its Vietnamese counterpart in October that it would not accept any more Vietnamese workers this year.
It said it is temporarily suspending the bilateral agreement on accepting Vietnamese workers under the Employment Permit System program.
Under a 2004 agreement the two countries have to renew the program every two years.
The Korean government last year have organized five Korean tests for more than three thousands Vietnamese laborers who had returned to their home country.
Until now, more than 16 percent of the workers who passed the tests have come back to work in South Korea.
But since early July the country has been allowing Vietnamese workers returning home after their contracts expire to come back to Korea after three months without having to take the tests.
So far 387 workers have returned to Korea to work under this scheme.
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