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Moving to Vietnam?

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Alain Nguyen

Living in Vietnam, from France

"The business contacts I made through InterNations, especially with other expats in Vietnam, proved to be invaluable."

Sneha Gupta

Living in Vietnam, from India

"Absolutely recommendable: Not only did we find the best places to go out in HCMC, but also great people and expats to meet up with. "

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Vietnam at a Glance

Moving to Vietnam

Are you contemplating moving to Vietnam? Then read the InterNations expat guide on Vietnam for more information on important topics for expatriates, such as visa categories and work permits, geography and climate, expat-friendly destinations, and getting around in this fascinating country.

Your move to Vietnam will take you to a drawn-out country in southeast Asia, sharing borders with Laos, China and Cambodia. Vietnam not only attracts visitors, tourists and travelers. It has also become an attractive destination for expats.

The Vietnamese are usually very welcoming to foreigners and expats. However, these hospitable people have long lived in a country occupied by foreign powers and torn apart by brutal fighting. They are thus now very protective of their independence and national sovereignty.

Geography and Climate in Vietnam

Vietnam is located between the Gulf of Thailand and the Gulf of Tonkin, in Southeast Asia. It stretches from China in the North to Cambodia in the South. Because of this geographical peculiarity, you will, upon moving to Vietnam, soon find that the climate differs strongly depending on where you live.

In Vietnam’s north, you will be exposed to a monsoonal climate, with alternating dry and monsoon seasons. The south is tropical and hot all year round. The meteorological divide is the Pass of the Cloud, north of Da Nang.

If you are moving to Vietnam and the Mekong Delta, you will also experience quite a few typhoons in this area during the rainy season. These typhoons often cause flooding and severe damage.

The Economy

After moving to Vietnam, you will experience a densely populated country which still faces various economic challenges. Vietnam is a Socialist Republic. It gained its independence from France in 1945. In the second half of the 20th century, though, Vietnam has seen several wars as well as political and social unrest. The country is still recovering from the aftermath of the devastating US-Vietnam War and the loss of financial support from the Soviet Block.

Although the economy is still dominated by state-owned businesses, the government has made several attempts to further economic liberalization and international integration. Thus, expats are welcome if they bring sufficient professional qualifications to the table.

However, reforms are necessary, as Vietnam’s labor force is constantly growing. At the same time, the global recession has hurt the country’s export oriented economy. This may also make it difficult for less qualified expats moving to Vietnam to find work there.

After having reached one of the highest inflation rates in August 2011, the government decided to focus on stabilizing Vietnam’s economy instead of on growth. Early in 2012, Vietnam introduced an extensive reform program focusing on public investment, the banking sector, and state-owned enterprises. However, the country continues to face severe challenges in 2013. The current near-bankruptcy and default of the state-owned shipbuilder Vinashin resulted in a downgrade of Vietnam’s sovereign debt.

Vietnam’s main income is derived from the manufacturing industries. The services sector, however, also offers lots of employment opportunities for foreign nationals moving to Vietnam.

InterNations Expat Magazine