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 DRAFT - NOT FOR QUOTATION - 17 March 2009

Socio-Demographic Indicators Year Value
Human Development Index
  2005   0.733a
Human Development Index, Rank
  2005   105a
Gender-related Development Index
  2005   0.732a
Gender-related Development Index, Rank
  2005   90a
Population Mid-year (In millions)   2008   86.2b
Rate of Natural Increase (%)
  2008   1.2b
Life Expectancy (Male/Female)
  2008   71/75b
Sources: aUNDP (2007); bPopulation Reference Bureau (2008)

Economic Indicators
GDP Growth Rate (%)
GDP Per Capita (PPP US$)
GNI PPP Per Capita (US$) 2007 2,550b
Unemployment Rate   --- ---

Sources: aUNDP (2007); bPopulation Reference Bureau (2008); cADB (2007)


Vietnam had a steady economic growth in 2006. Its growth rate was supported by exports, increase in spending and economic investment. After joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 2007, Vietnam has further strengthened its economic development and market reforms (ADB, 2007).
The government reported that the number of foreigners employed in Vietnam increased to 34,117 in 2006 from 12,900 in 2005 (AMN, 15 September 2007). A majority of them (about 73 percent) were employed as managers and technical experts. Vietnam decided to abolish the three percent cap on expatriates working in the country.
Vietnam is a late starter in overseas employment compared to other Southeast Asian countries and it is distinct from others in that outward labor migration is extensively directed by the government. Destinations of workers were initially socialist countries in Eastern Europe until the 1990s although this trend has changed. The first wave of labor exports was relevant to workers heading to the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia before it stopped temporarily due to conflicts between Vietnamese migrants and locals in the receiving countries. Social and political changes in the Eastern Bloc halted the second wave in the late 1980s. To find new markets, the government signed pacts with some Middle Eastern and Asian countries. This third wave began in 1994 when workers were deployed to Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Japan and South Korea.[1] The main destinations have changed since 2002 from South Korea and Japan to Malaysia, Taiwan and Laos (IOM, 2003). In 2006, some 78,000 Vietnamese were deployed abroad. A new development had been observed in 2007; Middle Eastern countries started employing workers (e.g., Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) as well as the US, Canada and Australia. As of May 2007, there were over 3,000 workers, mostly employed in the garment and textile industry, and construction in the UAE (AMN, 31 May 2007). The government reported that close to 400,000 Vietnamese migrants were working in more than 40 countries as of 2007 (AMN, 15 August 2007). Vietnam sent a total of 69,700 workers (22,300 females) abroad in the first 10 months of 2007. Their major destinations included Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. The country is now making efforts to build links with overseas Vietnamese, many of whom are families of those who left the country after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, in view of tapping their expertise and wealth to boost its economy. The UNHCR reported that a total of 839,230 Vietnamese arrived in countries of first asylum in East and Southeast Asia between 1975 and 1995. Of them, 754,840 were resettled, largely in the US (55 percent), Australia (15 percent), Canada (14 percent), France (4 percent), Britain (3 percent) and Germany (2 percent).[2] An estimated 2.7 million Vietnamese live in about 100 countries; over one million are in the US. Overseas Vietnamese are promised to be given benefits, such as property rights, special visas for business, local rates for hotel and airline tickets and language classes. Starting 1 September 2007, overseas Vietnamese (émigrés) can visit the country without visas (AMN, 30 June 2007).
In the meantime, Vietnam is a popular source of brides for Taiwanese and Korean men. Intermarriages between Vietnamese women and Korean men have surged over the past few years; from 5,822 in 2005 to 10,131 in 2006. Such international marriages are organized by agencies and brokers (intermediaries). Reports have shown that many Vietnamese women are married under conditions like those of human trafficking. A women union plans to set up 40 information and legal centers to educate prospective brides about the risks of intermarriages arranged by irregular brokers (AMN, 31 August 2007).  
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
2007   “Southeast Asia: Viet Nam.” In Asian Development Outlook 2007. Available at, accessed on 8 December 2008.
Asian Migration News (AMN) Various Years
Dang Dang Nguyen Anh, Tacoli, C. and Hoang Xuan Thanh
2003  “Migration in Vietnam: A Review of Information on Current Trends and Patterns, and Their Policy Implications.” A Paper presented at the Regional Conference on Migration, Development and Pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 22-24 June. Available at, accessed on 6 February 2007.
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
2003   Labour Migration in Asia: Trends, Challenges and Policy Responses in Countries of Origin. Geneva, Switzerland: IOM.
Population Reference Bureau
2008   “2008 World Population Data Sheet.” Available at, accessed on 21 November 2008.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
2007  “Human Development Report 2007/2008.” Available at, accessed on 9 December 2008. 

[1] Dang Nguyen Anh, Cecilia Tacoli and Hoang Xuan Thanh (2003) see
[2] Dang Nguyen Anh, Cecilia Tacoli and Hoang Xuan Thanh (2003).  

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