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Vietnam Today

Emigration of highly-skilled individuals quite high

Released at: 17:23, 09/10/2017

Emigration of highly-skilled individuals quite high

Photo: Internet Archive

World Bank report notes skilled Vietnamese workers are keen to head elsewhere if opportunity arises.

by Ngoc Chi

Emigration rates of highly-skilled individuals in Vietnam are quite high, at 10 per cent, according to the latest report from the World Bank entitled “Migrating to Opportunity”.

The report indicated that easing restrictions on labor migration can boost workers’ welfare and deepen regional economic integration.

Approximately $62 billion in remittances were sent to ASEAN countries in 2015, accounting for 10 per cent of GDP in the Philippines, 7 per cent in Vietnam, 5 per cent in Myanmar, and 3 per cent in Cambodia.

The impact of labor mobility on the region’s economies can be significant, as migration could provide individuals from lower-income countries with the opportunity to increase their earnings.

“No matter where workers wish to migrate in ASEAN, they face mobility costs several times the annual average wage,” said World Bank Economist for Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, Mr. Mauro Testaverde, the lead author of the report. “Improvements in the migration process can ease these costs on prospective migrants, and help countries respond better to their labor market needs.”

The report estimates that reducing barriers to mobility would improve workers’ welfare by 14 per cent if only targeting high-skilled workers and by 29 per cent if including all workers.

The World Bank said a range of policies can be implemented to enhance workers’ mobility and more oversight of recruitment agencies is needed across the region. “Vietnam can benefit from a national migration strategy to guide reforms,” the report noted.  

Vietnam, according to the World Bank, will need to evaluate its current policies for incentivizing out-migration to determine whether they are meeting the country’s needs.

While the intention of these policies is laudable, other reforms are also necessary, including a review of recruitment agencies’ frequent and at least tacitly sanctioned practice of requiring migrant workers pay a security deposit to guarantee their return, which is frequently not repaid. A national migration strategy could help to guide reforms.

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