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Workers going to Japan are disadvantaged because of the ‘trainee’ program

Actually going to work, but laborers coming to Japan as trainees are only considered as apprentices, so they receive the minimum salary, they do not change jobs even though they are not satisfied.

Having graduated from Da Nang Pedagogical University with good grades, but Phan Van Huy, 34 years old, from Dak Lak, could not find a job in the right field. After transferring to three companies with a monthly income of no more than 7 million VND, Mr. Huy decided to work abroad.

Mr. Phan Van Huy works at the factory.  Photo: Uy Van

Mr. Phan Van Huy works at the factory. Image: Uy Van

Anh Huy was introduced to Japan by the Suleco Specialist and Labor Export Service Joint Stock Company (HCMC) under the welding skills trainee program. “By the time I got on the plane, I had borrowed more than 200 million VND to pay for training, exiting, accommodation, language learning…”, Huy recalled 8 years ago.

Through a union in Japan, he was accepted by an Osaka-based company and sent to work in Tochigi Prefecture. Every hour he worked, he was paid 877 yen (one yen converted to 180-200 VND depending on the time), equal to the regional minimum wage in this country. By the third year, for every hour he worked, he received 963 yen due to the Japanese government’s salary adjustment.

Every month, employees will deduct about 20% of their hard salary to pay for accident, medical, social, unemployment, and trainee insurance. Besides, salary taxes, house rent, meals, and union dues are also deducted. In order to have a surplus of 20-27 million VND per month to send back to his hometown to pay his debts and take care of his wife and children, he has to work hard, not afraid to work overtime and save as much as possible. For the first year, every month, he kept a few boxes of noodles ready to eat for breakfast and dinner.

At the end of the three-year contract, Huy had to return home. He continued to apply for a two-year extension, at which point the basic salary increased to 1,000 yen per hour. At the end of 5 years as a trainee, Huy took the exam to get a certificate of vocational skills and continued to stay under the specified skills program. Currently, Huy’s salary is 1,150 yen per hour.

“While six-year senior welding workers are paid 1,300-1,700 yen per hour, former trainees must receive a lower rate. The reason is that the first five years are considered apprenticeships,” said Huy. explain.

Vietnamese workers working in Japan.  Photo: Thai De

Vietnamese workers working in Japan. Image: Thai De

Mr. Phan Viet Anh, a three-year trainee in Japan, returned home in 2020, the author of the autobiography “I went to Japan”, said that in theory, the workers participating in the trainee program will be trained by the Japanese side. skills, technology transfer to serve the country.

However, the jobs that are “learned” are very simple such as driving an excavator, inspecting goods, compacting the soil… mainly in need of health. Not to mention, many jobs in Japan are not available in Vietnam, techniques and machines are not compatible, so many cases of returning home are difficult to find jobs.

“Theory and reality are different, so in the end only the workers suffer,” Viet Anh assessed. Not to mention, the trainees under the management of the union, each month have to deduct about one million dong to pay the fee. During the three years, employees are not allowed to change jobs on their own.

Anh Viet Anh believes that most Vietnamese workers go to Japan to earn money. They have to borrow hundreds of millions of dong to pay for labor export enterprises. However, when they go to work in areas where the minimum wage is too low, they are not allowed to change. This makes it easy for workers to find a way to escape and go out to work “underground” to have a better income.

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Giang, Deputy Head of Market Development Department, Labor Export Service Joint Stock Company and Suleco expert, said that in the programs going to Japan, the trainees represent a large number because they do not require degree requirements, many professions to choose from.

“Because it almost does not require qualifications and skills, the receiving enterprises only pay salaries according to the regional minimum,” said Mr. Giang. After deducting all insurance and meals, on average, trainees save about 20 million VND per month.

Mr. Giang said the trainee program has certain shortcomings. For example, employees are not allowed to change factories unless that place is on fire or closed. The intern’s time is strictly managed by the union, making many workers uncomfortable.

Language classes for workers going to Japan under the trainee program of Saigon International Service Co., Ltd.  Photo: An Phuong

Language classes for workers going to Japan under the trainee program of Saigon International Service Co., Ltd. Image: An Phuong

The Department of Overseas Labor (Dolab, under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs) also believes that the nature of interns is to work in Japan. However, because the receiving country did not agree and maintain the “technical internship policy” from 1992 to present. Countries sending workers to must accept.

Previously, Korea also applied the policy of technical internment, but then abandoned it, officially accepting workers, and paying better wages. After Vietnam repeatedly proposed changes, Japan has made certain changes. Specifically, at the end of 2018, Japan approved a special skills program, creating opportunities for interns in some occupations to continue working with higher wages.

This year, Vietnam plans to send 90,000 workers abroad to work under contracts. In early May, businesses registered with Dolab more than 80,000 people. In which, Japan still holds the largest market with about 60,000 people, mainly trainees; followed by Taiwan with nearly 13,000 people; Korea 7,000 people and some other countries such as Australia, Canada…

Le Tuyet

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