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International labour migration from Vietnam to Asian countries: Process, Experiences and Impact


Type of publication: Report

Title: International labour migration from Vietnam to Asian countries: Process, Experiences and Impact

Publishing year: March 2010

Authors: Danièle Bélanger, Tran Giang Linh, Le Bach Duong và Khuat Thu Hong,

In collaboration with Nguyen Thi Van Anh and Belinda Hammoud.

Implementing institutions: Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS), University of Western Ontario (Canada) and the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC).


This report is the outcome of a project funded by the International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canada Research Chair program (CRC) during the period from May 2007 to May 2011.

In this report, we examine the experiences of migrant workers from Vietnam who have worked in the four major destination countries: Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. Our findings document a decade of labour migration from Vietnam to Asia (2000-2009). We also include some findings from data collected from households with a member still abroad working as a migrant worker.

Our objective is twofold. First, we focus on the experiences of returnees, or former migrant workers, who have completed their migration and returned to Vietnam. Second, we study the impact of migration on two groups: (1) former migrants and their household members and (2) households who currently have a migrant abroad. Throughout the report, we provide a gender analysis for many variables, since one of our project’s objectives is to understand migration as a gendered experience.

This report is based on extensive research we have been conducting since 2005. In Vietnam, we interviewed returnees, brokers, trainers, state-owned recruitment agencies, government employees and household members of migrants abroad. We also interviewed migrants in their destination, particularly Taiwan. We worked with shelters, NGOs and other researchers to document the experiences of migrant workers. What we found contrasted sharply with the positive discourse about the benefits of temporary or circular migration dominating United Nations and academic discourse. Despite some success stories, many of our returnees had failed. Nearly all had experienced some form of deception, abuse or harsh working conditions. Costs paid prior to migration were outrageous relative to migrants’ incomes. Recruitment in Vietnam was complex and regulations apparently poorly enforced. The picture was a sad one, and the benefits of migration seemed compromised by a long series of problems encountered by many migrants we interviewed, both at home and abroad.

For futher information, please contact Ms Vu Thanh Nhan: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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