Kingdom Plans To Recruit 50,000 Vietnamese Workers

RIYADH, 20 January 2006 — Saudi Arabia is planning to recruit about 50,000 Vietnamese workers this year, a source at the Saudi Arabian National Recruitment Committee (SANARCOM) said here on Wednesday.

The plan to recruit skilled and non-skilled workers including housemaids from that Asian country will help diversify the Kingdom’s labor imports, while cutting reliance on the traditional labor-exporting countries.

“Vietnamese Minister of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Hang will arrive here today to hold talks with her Saudi counterpart on how to forge closer relations in manpower sector,” said the source, who asked no to be identified, adding that SANARCOM has already signed two framework agreements with the Overseas Labor Management Department of the Vietnamese ministry to facilitate the recruitment.

He said that Thi Hang, accompanied by a business delegation, would also hold a meeting with the members of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday.

The SANARCOM source said that the Kingdom could be a better destination for Vietnamese workers because the income and the working conditions in the Kingdom are better or similar to Malaysia, the second-largest importer of Vietnamese labor.

Currently, Taiwan is the largest importer of Vietnamese workers, followed by Malaysia, Laos, Britain, Denmark and Palau.

The Hanoi-based Vietnam Labor Export Association estimates that 70,590 Vietnamese workers entered the international labor market, including Saudi Arabia, last year.

“We intend to recruit workers of all categories including housemaids and skilled labor. The Vietnamese maids are adequately trained to serve as domestic servants in the Saudi household,” said the source.

Asked how the recruitment process can be made easier in the absence of a Saudi Embassy in Hanoi, the SANARCOM official said that the Bangkok-based Saudi diplomatic mission would endorse all work visas.

A report by the Vietnamese Labor Export Association said that Saudi Arabia could offer in excess of 100,000 jobs in construction, industry and domestic sectors for Vietnamese workers, if the two sides work willingly on the project.

The report further said that Vietnam was trying to conclude labor supply contracts with a number of Saudi employers, which would also help Hanoi to meet its national target of manpower exports.

Currently, nearly 150 Vietnamese labor export companies send most of their workers to Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. Hanoi has stepped up efforts to send more workers abroad since last year in a new move to expand its labor exports.

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