Eastern promise for expat professionals in Vietnam

Eastern promise for expat professionals in Vietnam

Eastern promise for expat professionals in Vietnam

If you’ve rejected all the usual expat hubs as being too predictable, perhaps it’s time to look east.

Although there’s an explosion of expat interest in China, its unique culture and way of life isn’t every undecided expatriate’s dream as a destination even if they’re fascinated by the Orient in general.

Alternatives such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar are toughening up on visas and work permits nowadays unless the applicant is on relocation from a Western-based company, leaving those wanting to legally teach English or maybe start their own business out in the cold. Vietnam is the answer, once a well-kept secret but now, according to a recent survey, amongst the top ten global destinations for expats. The Southeast Asian country is now far removed from its troubled history and is forging ahead with the help of some 83,000 expatriates, the vast majority of whom report welcoming people and an easy adjustment period. There’s now a high demand for expertise, especially in the education sector from kindergarten to university.

The lifestyle is vibrant, and many find they can save money as well as having an enjoyable time outside work. Teaching in international schools is favourite, with one expat reporting four out of five of her friends are more than happy doing just that. For would-be teachers without formal Western qualifications, jobs in local schools can be had. Other sectors seeking expat professionals include the tech sector, banking and manufacturing, and even retail jobs are there for the taking as major retail firms are actively recruiting foreigners. The high levels of pay are luring increasing numbers of foreign workers to the country, with average salaries at between 30 and 50 per cent more than the pay of a Vietnamese national in the same job. For top jobs, perks such as tuition fees, rental charges, private drivers and airfares for the entire family come with salaries far in excess of what’s needed for a comfortable life.

A French software engineer who’s worked in Vietnam for two years is totally satisfied with his $2,500 a month salary, especially as it’s the equivalent of a year’s wages for a local. One English language school with 30 branches all over Vietnam pays its teachers high wages plus assistance in getting work permits and visas, free accommodation for the first week and airfare from the home country, whilst another company pays $2,000 a month. It has to be said that employers of expatriate workers are cashing in the Vietnamese preference for anything foreign, including people. One reason for this may be that their indigenous culture was destroyed by war and they’ve not yet recovered their confidence in their homeland.

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