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Workers to be sent for S Korean fishing industry

Myanmar Times, 14 March 2017 - Myanmar plans to send workers for the fishing industry in South Korea as there is a demand for labour in that sector, said U Thein Win, director of the Migration Affairs Department under the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.


“We find our workers are joining fishing boats of neighbouring countries illegally. South Korea’s fishing industry offers better conditions and the wages are good. So, we are planning to send workers after giving them training,” U Thein Win told The Myanmar Times last week.

He said that there was a demand for workers at South Korean fishing companies.

This will be the first time Myanmar arranges to send fishermen to neighbouring countries legally, he added.

Myanmar has been sending workers to South Korea for the industrial, construction and agricultural sectors under an agreement between the two countries.

“We are going to open the legal route for our fishermen to work abroad,” said U Thein Win, adding that Myanmar is currently scrutinising the South Korean fishing industry and companies which require workers, as well as checking on how they will provide for Myanmar workers and looking into conditions and protection for the workers.

U Thein Win said Myanmar is also making enquiries with the Human Resources Department of South Korea as to the demand for workers from fishing companies.

He said upon assessing the requirements of the South Korean fishing industry, Myanmar government officials will meet representatives of the fishing companies and the South Korean labour ministry to work out arrangements to send workers.

Myanmar workers will be sent to work in the South Korean fishing industry only after getting the approval of the relevant departments in the Union government, he added.

The system of sending fishermen will be separate from the previous MoU under which Myanmar has been sending workers to South Korea.

Under the new arrangement, Myanmar fishermen will be sent by overseas employment agencies and the Myanmar government will supervise the process to ensure the workers’ rights are protected under labour laws.

U Thein Win said the Myanmar workers will be issued E-10 visas and will be paid over US$1000 in monthly wages.

According to reports, Myanmar fishermen have been working illegally on fishing boats of foreign countries, including from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and many of them were victims of brokers and human traffickers and had to work without wages.

In 2015, more than 2000 fishermen including several hundred Myanmar workers were rescued from Thai and Indonesia fishing vessels by the respective governments.

The Myanmar victims told The Myanmar Times that over 500 Myanmar were trafficked and had to work on the fishing boats in Indonesia between five and 10 years without getting paid.

There were also cases of Myanmar fishermen being trafficked and sold to Myanmar-owned fishing boats, and worked at the mercy of these owners without receiving anything, according to the victims.


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