This is the mildly provocative title of a recent VNExpress International article about Vietnamese studying, working, and seeking permanent resident status overseas. While it may entice more netizens to read the article, the reality it attempts to describe is more multifaceted and complex than the black/white picture it paints.
Yes, significant numbers of young Vietnamese are studying overseas, including nearly 30,000 in the US alone, some with the intention of remaining, others not sure of their future path, and yet others with the goal of returning home. (The statistics of Vietnamese studying overseas are outdated in this article; there are over 110,000 in the top five host countries alone: Japan, the US, Australia, China, and Singapore.)
In fact, many do return home, if not immediately following completion of their studies, then after some time working overseas. There are also growing numbers of overseas Vietnamese who are returning to their homeland (or that of their parents) to tap into Viet Nam’s dynamic and rapidly expanding economy.
Many of those high net worth individuals who invest in order to become US permanent residents, (similar programs in other countries), i.e,. who essentially buy a green card, are not emigrating. They are essentially hedging their bets, diversifying their investments, and ensuring that they have more options in the future.
The significant number of Vietnamese working overseas benefit their families and Viet Nam through the money they send home, which is included in the $13 billion in remittances last year. In addition, most will eventually return home, which will benefit Viet Nam’s economy.
The lure of the American Dream, which is a result of family ties and the often mistaken belief that the grass is greener on the other side, has contributed to Viet Nam’s status as a top 10 emigration country for the US.