Third Time’s The Charm

Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre News.

This is the third in a trilogy of posts on Vietnam’s ranking in different categories, including adjusted refusal rates for B (tourist/business) visas, Vietnam-US immigration trends and patterns and, last but not least, overseas remittances.  Why overseas remittances?  Because they relate (directly) to emigration and (indirectly) to education. 

An Overview

According to an April 2012 World Bank update entitled Remittance flows in 2011 – an update (PDF download), officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $372 billion in 2011, an increase of 12.1 percent over 2010.  They are expected to grow at 7-8% annually to reach $467 billion by 2014. 

 Emigration & Remittances

As with any country, emigration is a mixed bag in terms of gains and losses. On the plus side, overseas Vietnamese return to Vietnam as tourists (a total of 6 million international visitors in 2011) and businesspeople, and contribute in various ways, including through investment and remittances.

In 2011, remittances reached $9 billion, which surpassed the previous year’s record by $1 billion. (This is 2.4% of total remittance flows to developing countries.)  Vietnam ranks 9th among all developing countries and 2ndin Southeast Asia – after the Philippines. 

The volume of overseas remittances to Vietnam comprised just 4.2% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999, but reached 7.8% in 2002, 7.7% in 2010 and 7.5% in 2011.  (Remittances to Vietnam in 1991 were $135 million.)  Most of the money sent back to Vietnam is used for investment in real estate; the rest is for bank deposits and the purchase of durable goods.  Presumably, a large chunk is also invested in education.

Source: World Bank

More than 4 million Vietnamese people are now living in 103 countries around the world, 80% of them in developed countries such as the United States or in Europe, according to a recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) update.  More than 500,000 Vietnamese are currently working in more than 40 countries and territories in occupations ranging from low to highly skilled, with more than 80,000 Vietnamese leaving each year to work abroad, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).


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