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Laos, R. Korea discuss Lao worker export to Korea

Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Phongsaisack Inthalath met with President of the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRDK) Uh Soo Bong to discuss the export of Lao workers to the Republic of Korea under Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) and labour skills training.

The export of workers under EPS is the cooperation between the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare of the Lao PDR and the Ministry of Employment and Labour of the Republic of Korea as the two countries signed an MoU on exporting Lao workers to Korea under EPS in September 2016.

Under EPS, foreign workers need to pass tests on Korean language and interviews and be selected by Korean employers.

Those passing the tests must learn Korean culture and Korean language for 45 hours, be trained, have health examinations and seek permission from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

EPS allows foreign workers to work in Korea for three years. The workers can renew the contract for another one year and ten months. Once returning to the Lao PDR, they can also reapply for employment opportunities in Korea.

Since 2018, more than 1,100 Lao workers including 79 females, have been exported to the Republic of Korea under its EPS mechanism.

Lao PDR faces several difficulties in term of exporting workers to Korea. Workers need to be tested for Korean language and key skills. Meanwhile, most workers in provinces are poor and find it difficult to access Korean language class. Data on workers who have completed, renewed contracts or who have had contracts revoked are yet to be properly kept.

Less female workers are chosen compared to their male counterparts.

Many employers cannot expect their workers to arrive in Korea in time as this time is a peak season for tourism. Most seats have been reserved for Korean visitors so few seats can be arranged for Lao workers.

Deputy Minister asked the Human Resources Development Service of Korea to strengthen cooperation on the exchange of information especially the information on those who have completed, renewed contracts and have their contracts revoked and to consider the provision of assistance to Lao workers, especially in case they have disputes with their employers or need to change jobs.

He also asked Korean employers to hire more female workers and increase EPS quota for Laos from 500 to 2,000 per year.

Source: Lao News Agency