On June 21, the Social Welfare and Labor Ministry held a press conference and reported that in recent years, the flow of labor market toward Mongolia decreased. For instance, 37,000 foreigners arrived to work Mongolia in 2008, but it decreased to 31,000 in 2009.
Previously, Mongolia received foreign labor force based on government resolutions for implementing national-scale programs and projects, constructing buildings and eliminating aftermath of natural calamity and disasters. Also, they were exe pted from a fee of working place. It was suitable for socioeconomic development and situations around 2001. Pursuant to this year’s government resolution #79, the regulation was amended and its clause saying, “implementing nationalscale projects and programs and constructing buildings” was taken out. By doing so, the exemption was no longer in use. Now, economic entities pay a fee of working place in order to hire foreigners in accordance with the government resolution and the fees are accumulated in a Employment Promotion Fund. As of 2009, 47.2 percent of all foreigners working in Mongolia were engaged in the mining extractive industrial sector, 28.6 percent in construction, 2.9 percent in transport, 5.7 percent in processing, 2.8 percent in education, 6.7 percent in trade and service, and 0.6 percent in hotel, restaurant, electricity and water supply spheres.
The Social Welfare and Labor Ministry and the government are often confronted with Mongolians’ criticism that many young people are highly educated, but they are not provided jobs. Since a law on exporting labor force and receiving foreign labor force and specialists was adopted, over 25,000 Mongolians were sent to South Korea, Japan, Czech, Hungary and Taiwan under official labor contract as industrial trainees through organizations with special permit to intermediate. Presently, there are 15 organizations and entities in Mongolia, holding a special permit to intermediate people to work abroad. Most people go to South Korea. Some of them are interested in working in Japan, however Japan’s qualifications are high. For instance an applicant must attend one-year of Japanese language training. Therefore, Mongolians prefer working in South Korea.
Recently, Labor Minister of theRepublic of Korea visited Mongolia. During his visit, Mongolian side put forward some issues, including a request to allow Mongolians to work in South Korea with their families. If this request is positively resolved, incidents of divorces occurring in present Mongolian society as the couples are apart for many years can be decreased. Additionally, it can cause a pleasant impact for increasing money flow to households and the country.
Pursuant to the memorandum of cooperation established between Mongolia’s Social Welfare and Labor Ministry and Labor Ministry of the Republic of Korea, Mongolia’s Center of Dispatching Labor Force is responsible for exporting labor force issues. Since its establishment, the center has intermediated over 6,000 Mongolians. The Ministry holds a policy to recall more Mongolians working in South Korea to work in the mining and construction sector because mining and construction sector develop intensively. By doing so, it believes they can have jobs after arriving in their home country. Also, the ministry reported that it prepares to resolve many issues including getting Mongolians abroad involved in social insurance and insurance of retirement pension.
However, the survey results shows that foreign specialized professionals will still be received in the next two or three years. The ministry implemented a pilot program with the purpose of training domestic workers in the same professions as foreign workers and employ to Mongolians in investment and construction projects such as mining and road construction. The program involved 3,556 people from 93 entities, resulting in 2,900 of them getting jobs. This year, the Government allowed employing a total of 8,494 foreigners in road constructional works with funding from the Asian Development Bank, a soft loan from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of the Republic of Korea, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and non-refundable assistance of the Republic of China, oil explorations in accordance with Product-Share Agreement, construction of railway and thermo power stations, the foundation of a plant in accordance with the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement, and others.
It is interesting how much unemployment in Mongolia can decrease in connection with Oyu Tolgoi deposit’s exploitation. Currently, roughly 2,200 Mongolians and over 860 foreigners are employed at the project. It is not excessive from a quota for employing foreigners and it means that Mongolian workers make up 72 percent while foreigners cover 28 percent.
To the question about a policy on which country the Mongolian labor force will be exported to in recent years, T. Enkhtuya from the Ministry answered, “Actually, we have a policy to limit exporting of the labor force abroad. Currently there is nothing planned.”