Foreigners find Vietnam good place to work

By Nguyen Hang   May 9, 2024 | 03:38 pm PT
Foreigners find Vietnam good place to work
Foreigners walk on a street in Thua Thien-Hue Province. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
An increasing number of foreigners are choosing to work long-term in Vietnam, which they see as a large and rapidly growing market with strong demand for expertise.

Yoon Kyu Hee first came to Vietnam 25 years ago as a toddler but remains in the country now as a 28-year-old though his family has returned to South Korea.

"It is much more convenient here in Vietnam. The country has become so familiar to me and I want to work here."

As the deputy CEO of an auditing company in Hanoi, Hee has seen growing demand from South Korean companies looking for professional services as their businesses expand locally.

He also plans to invest in cosmetics and open a South Korean language center in the country as the birth rate in Vietnam is much higher than in South Korea and this means there is strong demand for these services.

"It is a big market and there is still a lot of space to do business."

The number of foreigners in the country has surged 37% since 2022 to 136,800 as of last year, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Vietnam has also seen increasing foreign direct investment, which jumped 32% last year to $36.6 billion, with the top investors being Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, government data shows.

A recent survey by recruitment firm Navigos Group found that among Southeast Asian countries Vietnam was the top choice for 30% of respondents.

They listed high incomes and political stability as among the top reasons for choosing Vietnam.

Another survey by lender HSBC found Vietnam among the top 10 countries chosen by expats to developer their career.

Moe, a South African who came to Vietnam six years ago, decided to stay because the country makes him feel safe.

"It is one of the safest countries that I have been to. In six years nobody has caused any problem for me."

Living in Ho Chi Minh City as he does, he is aware there are thieves on the street and that "crazy" motorbike drivers can be an issue and the heat is uncomfortable. But none of it is a dealbreaker for him.

"You can live like a poor person and eat street food or you can live luxuriously and buy a villa. There are lots of options for foreigners."

He works as an English teacher and also trades garments with neighboring countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.

"There is a lot of potential in Vietnam. Many companies are looking to source products from the country."

Nguyen Thi Mai Thuy, national coordinator of the Migrant Labor Program run by the International Labor Organization, said Vietnam has a lot going for it to become an ideal destination for foreign workers.

The government has been making changes to welcome more foreigners such as loosening visa policies and not limiting the ratio of foreign workers hired by businesses, she said.

It also allows the use of an old work permit to attest to work experience in a position, she added.

Gaku Echizenya, general director of Navigos Group Vietnam, said foreign personnel at Vietnamese enterprises make a significant contribution to building a multicultural working environment and an intersecting business culture.

But Hee has struggled with bureaucracy while working with the government, with some procedures taking a long time to be completed. He expects stronger reforms.

But generally he wants to work in Vietnam for a long time. "The country has overcome the post-Covid difficulties and is now recovering much faster than South Korea. It is easier to do anything here."

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