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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: October 2015

5 - Economic Costs and Benefits of Labour Migration: Case of Vietnam



There is a popular argument that outbound flows of low-skilled labour can positively impact on a country. First, it can help ease the problem of excessive labour supply in the domestic labour market and reduce the rate of unemployment. Second, labour migration to other countries can enhance skills and professionalism through exposure to more advanced technologies. Third, labour movements can stimulate investment in education and individual human capital in the home country. Finally, it is often argued that for Vietnam, labour migration can help increase the inflow of foreign exchange and remittances.

A number of studies that analyse migration patterns along with other aspects of socio-economic development have been carried out in Vietnam. Other studies examine the determinants of migration, its consequences and other related issues such as fertility, social capital, the gender gap and livelihoods. Additionally there have been a number of discussions at the governmental level on the issues of cross-border labour migration and socio-economic development in the GMS. However, very little empirical research has so far been conducted on the effects these economic exchanges have on those people who have chosen to migrate from Vietnam to neighbouring countries.

Although this study includes an overview of recent patterns and determinants of labour migration to and from Vietnam, its focus is on the impact of labour migration from Vietnam to countries within the GMS. Its main objectives are to provide a solid foundation of knowledge and information on labour movements from Vietnam to the GMS countries, gain insight into the impact of this process on individuals and on Vietnam, and send a warning message to the government and other development actors about the need to refine the policy framework. The research team used desk review and field survey as the two main research methods. For the desk review, existing international and domestic literature, data, and practical experience on labour migration issues were examined.