Vietnam is increasingly viewed as an appealing place to work for foreigners

More foreigners are opting for long-term employment in Vietnam due to its expansive and rapidly evolving market, which exhibits strong demand for specialized skills.

Yoon Kyu Hee arrived in Vietnam as a young child 25 years ago and has since chosen to remain in the country, now at the age of 28, even after his family returned to South Korea.

“Living in Vietnam is much more convenient. The country feels like home to me now, and I’m eager to build my career here.”

As the deputy CEO of an auditing firm in Hanoi, Hee has witnessed increased demand from South Korean businesses seeking professional services as they expand their operations locally.

He also plans to invest in cosmetics and establish a South Korean language center in Vietnam, given the significantly higher birth rate here compared to South Korea, leading to robust demand for such services.

“The market is vast, and there’s ample opportunity for business growth.”

The number of foreigners in Vietnam has risen by 37% since 2022 to reach 136,800 last year, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs.

Vietnam has also experienced a surge in foreign direct investment, which escalated by 32% last year to $36.6 billion, with primary investors being Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, according to government statistics.

A recent survey by recruitment agency Navigos Group revealed that Vietnam was the top choice among Southeast Asian nations for 30% of respondents, citing attractive salaries and political stability as key factors.

Another survey by HSBC found Vietnam to be among the top 10 countries chosen by expatriates to advance their careers.

Moe, a South African who relocated to Vietnam six years ago, decided to stay due to the country’s perceived safety.

“It’s one of the safest countries I’ve experienced. In six years, I haven’t encountered any issues.”

Despite acknowledging street thieves and erratic motorbike riders in HCMC, Moe finds these minor inconveniences manageable.

“Vietnam offers a spectrum of living options—from modest street food to luxurious villas—making it appealing to foreigners.”

Moe works as an English teacher and engages in garment trading with neighboring countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

“There’s vast potential in Vietnam, with many companies seeking products from this region.”

Nguyen Thi Mai Thuy, national coordinator of the Migrant Labor Program managed by the International Labor Organization, believes Vietnam has the attributes to become an ideal destination for foreign workers.

Thuy noted that the government has been implementing changes to attract more foreigners, including relaxing visa regulations and eliminating restrictions on the ratio of foreign workers hired by businesses.

Gaku Echizenya, general director of Navigos Group Vietnam, highlighted the significant contribution of foreign staff in Vietnamese enterprises towards fostering a multicultural work environment and a dynamic business culture.

However, Hee has encountered bureaucratic challenges while dealing with the government, experiencing delays in certain procedures. He anticipates more robust reforms in this regard.

Despite these hurdles, Hee is committed to a long-term career in Vietnam. “The country has successfully navigated post-Covid challenges and is recovering much faster than South Korea. Getting things done here is easier.”

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