Nguyen Quoc Duong, an engineer, moved to Japan five years ago for an astounding career opportunity. His company provided him with incredible benefits he probably won’t find anywhere else.
Now, his family of four is enjoying a comfortable life, with the education of his two children already secured.
“Living in Japan has many benefits, it’s a good environment for my children. And it’s a great destination for overseas workers like myself,” Duong said.
Duong is just one of the 443,998 Vietnamese workers in Japan. Vietnamese account for the largest number of foreign employees in the Land of the Rising Sun.
According to the 2020 statistics from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Vietnamese workers have now outnumbered their Chinese and Filipino peers, with 419,431 and 184,750 workers, respectively.
Japan, an economic powerhouse and cited as one of the most highly developed and technologically advanced nations, has opened millions of opportunities for foreign workers as a way to fill the gap created by its ageing domestic workforce.
Most of the foreign workers are in manufacturing, wholesale/retail, hospitality and construction industries.
With immigration and labor laws that provide comprehensive benefits to workers, the inflow of migrant workers to the country has consistently augmented – led by almost half a million Vietnamese workforce.
Last March, Japan temporarily blocked entry of Vietnamese workers due to COVID-19. But it has slowly eased restrictions over the past months. With Vietnam being tagged as one of the safest countries during the global health crisis, Japan started re-issuing visas for Vietnamese workers as the East Asian country tries to revive an economy battered by the pandemic.
Aside from Japan, the main destination countries for Vietnamese workers are Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia. But in recent years, destinations have become more diverse, as significant numbers of workers moved to the Middle East, Europe and middle income countries in Asia.
Overseas Vietnamese community has about 5.3 million people living and working in over 130 countries and territories, of which more than 80% are in developed countries, according to Agribank.
The Vietnamese government has developed policies that encourage labor migration as a strategy for poverty reduction. Vietnamese from places designated as “poor districts” are provided assistance to facilitate working overseas. Incentives include loans and financial assistance for language training, vocational skills training and health checks.
Vietnam is among world’s top 10 remittance recipients
Vietnamese migrant workers make a significant contribution to the economic development of Vietnam through their remittances, a major source of foreign exchange income for the country.
The World Bank has previously forecasted that remittances to Vietnam in 2020 would reach $15.6 billion, equivalent to 5.8% of the country’s GDP.
In 2019, overseas Vietnamese sent home $17 billion, making Vietnam the ninth biggest remittance beneficiary in the world.
Major sources of remittances to Vietnam come from Vietnamese migrants and workers in the US, Japan, China and South Korea.
Remittances sent to Vietnam are usually used for family support. But according to the latest data obtained by Vietnam Briefing, the last few years saw remittances redirected towards business investments, real estate and savings.
Around 70% of the remittances go to production and business projects, 20% are directed towards real estate, and only 6-7% is spent on healthcare, family support, and education.