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Viet Nam's rapid economic development is fuelling large migration flows from rural to urban and peri-urban areas where employment opportunities are increasingly more available. According to some government offices, an estimated 25 to 30 per cent of Viet Nam's largest cities consist of migrants. With regard to international migration, some three million Vietnamese live abroad with another 450,000 residing abroad as temporary workers.

Remittances from overseas migrants and migrant workers continue to play an important role in the country's development, as do remittances from internal migrants. As one of its strategies to combat poverty, the government organises overseas employment, but many labour migrants find it difficult to earn enough money due to the excessive pre-departure costs. Human trafficking has been closely associated with people seeking better employment opportunities and government agencies are placing increasing priority on combating unsafe migration and on counter trafficking.

Government counterparts are increasingly interested in working with IOM and the international community as a whole on issues that were too sensitive to discuss only a few years ago. This is a positive and welcome development.

IOM also plays an integral role in the One UN Initiative in Viet Nam, an initiative that owes its success to the strong leadership role taken by the Government of Viet Nam, a committed United Nations Country Team, and a supportive donor community. The goals of the One UN Initiative in Viet Nam include an enhanced relevance and coherence of the UN in Viet Nam, increased development and aid effectiveness, and ensuring efficiencies and cost savings.

Regulating Migration

Many Vietnamese migrate in search of opportunities for employment and a chance to improve their personal and family income. Unfortunately, the desire to migrate, which is often fueled by growing economic disparities in Viet Nam, leaves many Vietnamese vulnerable to human trafficking.

IOM draws upon its experience in Viet Nam, to assist the Government in establishing a systematic and sustainable cross-border return and reintegration system for trafficked persons. One way in which IOM is demonstrating this, is the establishment of Assessment Centre models in border provinces of Viet Nam, where returned trafficked persons are able to stay in a safe and supportive environment and be assessed for reintegration by professional staff.

A critical element to IOM's various counter-trafficking projects is the technical assistance and capacity building activities provided to government, mass organizations, NGOs, law enforcement staff, and border guards who work in the area of trafficking.

For more details, please visit the IOM Viet Nam website.

Migration and Development

IOM Viet Nam works with the IOM office in the United Kingdom (UK), and the Government of the UK, to implement the reintegration component of a return programme for those irregular migrants who return home to Viet Nam voluntarily. This project assists returnees in a number of ways including providing initial funding for micro business start up, and by funding further education and vocational training.

Under the UN–Government of Vietnam Joint Programme on Gender Equality, which provides strategic, coordinated and multi-sectoral capacity building and technical assistance to national and provincial partners to support better implementation, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the Law on Gender Equality and the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control for 2009-2011, IOM contributes to strengthening evidence-based data and data systems for promoting gender equality.

For more details, please visit the IOM Viet Nam website.

Migration Health

IOM, in order to enhance communities' resilience when faced with unforeseen pandemics or other threats is building the capacity of stakeholders for community-based surveillance, prevention and home-based management of communicable diseases through pandemic preparedness information and social mobilization activities.

IOM has also been working towards the promotion of the rights of women and to contribute to national efforts in reducing violence against women through the development of self-help groups and communication strategies to empower migrant women who have experienced violence.

Infrastructure projects are increasing throughout the Greater Mekong Sub-region which can often attract migrant and mobile populations to remote and isolated communities which face increased vulnerability to HIV. IOM works to strengthen HIV prevention activities conducted in order to reduce vulnerability in sending and receiving countries.

As part of the migration process, many governments require migrants to undergo a health assessment prior to travel. IOM in Viet Nam is a designated panel physician for the governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States for whom it provides such assessments.

For more details, please visit the IOM Viet Nam website.

Facilitating Migration

The IOM offices in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City are the designated visa application submission sites on behalf of the Australian Department for Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). IOM staff assist applicants by verifying that application forms and all necessary documentation are complete and present before forwarding the application to the Embassy or Consulate for processing.

In support of migrants and at the request of local Embassies and Consulates, IOM also provides counseling, informational resources, fingerprinting, and logistical assistance to both onshore and offshore immigration processing posts.

IOM Viet Nam actively advocates with the government and other concerned organizations to improve conditions of labour migrants, both within Viet Nam and overseas.

For more details, please visit the IOM Viet Nam website.

Technical Support for Migration Management and Capacity Building

Viet Nam is experiencing increasing migration and mobility, with greater numbers of labour migrants, travellers, internal migrants, as well as women marrying foreign husbands and moving overseas. IOM is collecting information on migration which provides support to policy makers, government implementers, destination countries, and migrants, resulting in a better understanding of the migration environment and issues around safe migration.

IOM is also providing capacity building to government ministries, including the Consular Department and other related agencies, in order to reach levels required by today's ever-changing migration environment. Advice is also being provided on how Viet Nam might develop a comprehensive migration policy.

For more details, please visit the IOM Viet Nam website.

Movement, Emergency and Post-crisis Migration Management

IOM offers comprehensive and reliable travel assistance to migrants who have never flown before or traveled to a foreign country including escort assistance for medical cases, elderly migrants, and unaccompanied minors.

IOM also performs government mandated medical assessments and provides movement assistance for Vietnamese applicants who are selected for resettlement in the United States.

In Viet Nam, IOM’s work also focuses on the emerging issue of “Climate Change and Migration”. Climate-related environmental change and associated disasters figure among the most serious challenges facing notably the Mekong Delta. The vulnerability of the Delta coupled with the opportunities created by rapid economic growth are generating increased migration and urbanization, as affected people move to commercial and industrial centers. In October 2012, IOM in cooperation with UNDP and the Can Tho University published a first report on this issue: Link to Final workshop report.

For more details, please visit the IOM Viet Nam website.

Last updated:
Main text: November 2012
Facts and figures: February 2016

Population (2015):93.4 million
Area:331,212 km sq
Languages :Vietnamese
Currency:Dong (VND)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):USD 5,629
HDI Rank (2014):116 of 188
Remittances (2014):USD 12,000 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020):-0.4 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015):0.1%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):42.1%
Population under 15 (2015):23.1%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014)0.50%

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Green One-UN House
4th Floor, 304 Kim Ma Street
District Ba Dinh
Hanoi, Viet Nam

Tel: +84 (0) 4 38 500 100
  +84 (0) 4 38 501 888
Fax: +84 (0) 4 37 265 519
  +84 (0) 4 37 265 520
Email: hanoi@iom.int
Website: http://www.iom.int.vn/