High-quality overseas labour keen on Vietnam shift

September 07, 2023 | 21:00
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Vietnam’s promising economic factors could lead to more foreign workers and overseas Vietnamese entering the country to live and work.
High-quality overseas labour keen on Vietnam shift
High-quality overseas labour keen on Vietnam shift, illustration photo/ Source: freepik.com

A survey conducted by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters in July revealed that 71 per cent of overseas Vietnamese are actively considering the prospect of returning to their homeland to live and work within the next five years. The percentage is notably higher than Indonesia at 60 per cent, the Philippines at 62 per cent, and Singapore at 58 per cent.

“With the anticipated medium-term GDP growth of approximately 6 per cent and a rising number of companies achieving revenues exceeding $1 billion, Vietnam is evolving into a captivating hub for global investors and talent,” said Pham Tuan Phuc, country manager of Robert Walters Vietnam.

According to the consultancy, among those surveyed who believe that economic factors have a positive impact on them, two-thirds stated that they are confident in Vietnam’s economic stability and growth. This is also the foremost reason behind their choice to return.

Additionally, the ratio of high salaries to low living costs in Vietnam is an appealing factor for 44 per cent of the surveyed individuals, who believe that economic factors have a positive impact on their decision. Returning to Vietnam would enable them to lead a more comfortable and higher quality life, they believe.

In terms of foreign worker prospects of moving to Vietnam, Robert Walters assessed that the country is facing a golden opportunity to attract high-quality human resources. However, how to exploit and use this resource effectively is still a difficult problem, stemming from Vietnam’s somewhat complicated foreign labour recruitment process.

More than 93,000 foreigners possess work permits in Vietnam now, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. However, the process has been tightened since 2021, and businesses have been clamouring for a loosening of some procedures.

“Securing visas and work permits for foreign workers remains a challenge, when more than 80 per cent of enterprises from one survey stating that they have faced several difficulties with this issue,” said Christophe Pairaud, cluster general manager of Novotel Suites Hanoi.

Pham Duy Khuong, managing director of ASL LAW firm, said that although work permits are supposed to be attainable within a few weeks, the actual time to get a one approved may be longer than the regulations. Some businesses take well over two months to complete the procedures for a work permit, he said.

“Vietnam’s work permit issuance process is similar to most countries in the region, but the application procedure is still complicated and faces many administrative problems, especially when compared with Singapore or Thailand,” he added.

For Vietnamese workers living abroad who want to return to their home country to work, Khuong advises that those who once had Vietnamese nationality can apply to regain their nationality and follow the same job application procedures as an ordinary Vietnamese citizen.

“Employees who have converted to other nationalities and no longer have Vietnamese nationality will have to go through the same procedures for applying for a work permit as foreigners,” he added.

Recruitment businesses also need to prepare solutions to support those people. Some 27 per cent in the aforementioned survey mentioned that they would be willing to accept a salary reduction of 30 per cent or less compared to their current salary if they returned to Vietnam.

But Pham Thi Hoai Linh, human resources director of Navigos Group, stated that the licensing of work has quite different contents and procedures depending on the locality. Enterprises and management agencies need to have close coordination to come up with appropriate policies to support foreign workers to quickly integrate into the Vietnamese labour market.

For recruitment businesses, in addition to complying with regulations on foreign labour management, it is necessary to create a diverse and open working environment and organise sharing programmes to help foreign workers understand more about local organisation culture and working methods.

“Foreign workers will have certain limitations compared to domestic workers, so it is necessary to have supportive policies from entry procedures and work permits to accommodation and effective communication methods with local colleagues,” Linh recommended.

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