By Manh Duong and Nguyen Thuy
Vietnam National Youth Federation
March 20, 2008
Singapore has emerged as an attractive labor market for Vietnam, offering workers high salaries and good working conditions.
The number of Vietnamese workers in Singapore was still modest, said Tran Quoc Ninh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Labor Export Association, but the island-nation would surely become an important labor market in the very near future.
The Overseas Manpower Service Company (SULECO) recently clinched a deal to send 70 workers to Singapore, SULECO deputy director Tran Van Thanh said.
They would work as restaurant assistant managers, sales managers, delivery men and postmen, and get salaries of SGD1,400 to 1,800 (US$1,000 to 1,300) per month, the highest salaries Vietnamese workers got anywhere in Asia, he said.
Singapore has so far been hiring personnel from countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines for such jobs.
United Micro Electronics Corporation was the first Singaporean company to recruit skilled workers through the Vietnamese labor agency Sovilaco last year.
The recruitment tendencies have changed due to three main factors: Vietnam’s trade promotion activities since its admission to the World Trade Organization, the successful operation of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park in Binh Duong Province, and the capabilities of Vietnamese students and workers.
The female workers supplied by Sovilaco said they had found perfect working conditions and there had been no conflicts or incidents.
The workers at United Micro Electronics, for instance, get a lot of benefits, ranging from high allowances and free housing to access to the gym and the Internet.
Other traditional markets rarely offer such working and living conditions.
Last year, 107 Vietnamese laborers died in Malaysia and one-third of the deaths were believed to stem from heart and respiratory diseases.
The statistics have had a strong effect on many Vietnamese workers who were planning to work in Malaysia.
According to the Vietnamese Overseas Labor Management Bureau, the target of sending 26,000 guest workers to Malaysia this year may not be achieved.
The bureau added it expected to send 10,000 guest workers to new markets in the Middle East, mainly the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, this year.
More than 470,000 Vietnamese nationals are working in 40 countries and territories around the world.