As many as 10,000 Vietnamese workers may be headed to the Middle East in 2008, according to news sources within Vietnam, including the Thanh Nien (Youth) newspaper.
Vietnam’s Overseas Labor Management Bureau will focus on sending laborers to the Middle East in 2008, as Vietnamese laborers have faced difficulties in more familiar markets.
The bureau, which operates under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, said it expects to send 10,000 laborers to Middle Eastern countries, mainly the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia this year.
Over 1,300 Vietnamese workers have already arrived in Qatar this year, according to Thanh Nien.
Previously, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan were considered Vietnam’s key labor export markets.
But a plan for Vietnam to send 26,000 guest laborers to Malaysia in 2008 may no longer go through.
Bureau deputy head Dao Cong Hai said many Vietnamese who had planned to work in Malaysia no longer wanted to do so after 107 Vietnamese laborers died there last year.
Bureau head Nguyen Ngoc Quynh said one-third of the 107 deaths were believed to have stemmed from pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions.
Authorities said that proper medical, criminal, and qualification checks had not been run on the workers, many of whom died sudden deaths in what the paper characterized as “accidents and fights.”
The bureau also said that although the South Korean and Japanese labor markets were very large, Vietnam was only permitted to send 12,000 and 6,000 laborers to these countries, respectively.