During the US government fiscal year 2015 (ending 30 September 2015), over half a million people emigrated to the US. Of that number (531,463), 27,391 (5.15%) were from Vietnam, including 13 whose visas were issued under the Vietnam Amerasian category. Below is the list of top 10 countries based on the number of immigrant visas issued.
- Mexico: 82,476
- Dominican Republic: 45,065
- China: 39,251
- Philippines: 36,650
- India: 30,381
- Vietnam: 27,391
- Pakistan: 14,220
- Bangladesh: 14,093
- Haiti: 13,251
- El Salvador: 12,488
Most of those are family members of Vietnamese-Americans who arrived in the US during several waves of post-war emigration. Others are Vietnamese who want to hedge their bets, so to speak, and have no intention of living full-time in the US, while some others are Vietnamese who study in the US and then, for whatever reason, often of a personal nature, make the fateful decision to emigrate.
Unlike some in the past who had close ties to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), who have never returned to their homeland for political reasons, most of the newer immigrants maintain close ties with Vietnam.
Most emigrate in the hopes of a better economic life, which is not always the case, given how static the US economy is right now and how dynamic Vietnam’s is. I know of one family who were among the last to emigrate under the auspices of the Orderly Departure Program, which ended in 1997. (Under this program, which began in 1980, 623,509 Vietnamese were resettled abroad, including 450,000 in the US.) The parents are planning to retire to their home village in Vietnam and one of their children made plans to return because he saw more opportunities in Vietnam and he feels more at home here than in the US. The main objective of the parent’s decision to emigrate was to give their children a better education than they would have had in Vietnam.
Considering the size of Vietnam’s population, i.e., over 93 million, these numbers are inconsequential and have been decreasing with the passing of each year.
The full PDF report from which the above stats were excerpted can be downloaded here.