Vietnam still a warm home for expats despite challenges

10:15 | 16/10/2012
Vietnam is ranked amongst top ten favourite countries of foreign expats for working in the world.

The Expat Explorer survey, the largest global survey of expats which was commissioned by HSBC Bank International and conducted by third party research company YouGov in 2012, last week revealed that this year five Asian countries feature in the Expat Economics league table top ten - Singapore (1st), Thailand (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), China (7th) and Vietnam (10th).

“While the Middle East has, in previous years, reigned as the region for expats looking for increased wealth and financial gain, this year’s Expat Explorer report shows  that Asia is beginning to take the expat wealth crown, with Asian countries dominating the Expat Explorer Economics league tables,” said HSBC in a press release.

Of which, Vietnam was said to be a more appealing and challenging place for foreigners expats to work.

While a half of expats agreed that they earned more since moving to the country and 63 per cent thought that the financial status of their household had improved, only 30 per cent associated the country with higher salaries compared with its Asian counterparts dominating the Expat Explorer Economics league tables.

A third found that they had better life opportunities than in their previous country which was a very small proportion when compared to two-thirds worldwide. However, expats were generally in agreement that Vietnam was on the way up with 57 per cent thinking that the country was getting better for expats.

In terms of expat experience, Vietnam fell into the fourth quartile of the expat experience league tables at 27th. Despite the lower rankings, those surveyed in this study were often surprised by what the country had to offer. A third of expats expected a better quality of life but upon relocation, two in five actually found that to be the case. While the quality of life might not be as good as in other countries, expats often head to the country to challenge themselves.

Almost three quarters found that they had developed and been stretched as individuals, and nearly the same proportion associate the country with being a culturally interesting place.  Those living there generally found a good work balance. A half said it was better than in their previous country. This may be in part due to the higher standard of accommodation, according to HSBC.

Specifically, over half believed that they had better housing and living quarters than in their home country, while a quarter had a swimming pool while they did not before.

Despite the difficulty of the local language with three quarters described learning it as difficult, 70 per cent of expats in Vietnam still make an effort to learn and use the language. Nearly two-thirds associate the country with friendly locals.

In spite of this, there was still a strong expat community, with over half saying that they had more expat friends than locals and only one in five saying that they had more local friends.

According to the Ministry of Police, Vietnam currently has 41,000 foreigners working in the country with work permits.

By Minh Thien

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