As Vietnam’s economy rises with a growth rate of 6.81% and a per capita income of 2,385 USD, the number of opportunities also rises not only for the locals but also for foreign investors and other nationals willing to make significant changes in their lives.

In a report called “Global Expatriates: Size, Segmentation, and Forecast for the Worldwide Market,” the number of expatriates globally are expected to rise from 66.2 million in 2017 to 87.5 million by 2021.

The number of expats flying in has been increasing in recent years, which can be attributed to the active global expat recruiting and headhunting into Vietnam.

The Expat Insider Survey in 2018 ranks Vietnam as the 14th best destination for expats globally. The country is also ranked 6th in terms of its citizens’ personal happiness.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) reported that there are over 83,500 expats that live in Vietnam as of 2015, with Chinese workers comprising 30.9% of that population.

Ho Chi Minh City ranks as the top city destination, accounting for 24.3 percent of the foreign working population.


What Expats Get in Vietnam

Expats are commonly those seeking for the perfect work-life balance. In considering where to live, a lot of other factors are taken into consideration before taking concrete steps towards living abroad. Here are some of the common factors expats consider.


1. Vietnam has a cheaper cost of living

With the extremely low cost of living in the country compared to other Asian countries, Vietnam is a cost-effective place to live in. Monthly rental rates of a two-bedroom apartment could begin at a low price of 250/500 USD, and meals usually range from 1 to 5 USD for decent and tasty food.


2. It is rich in history and culture

Vietnam is known for its rich culture and traditions, and its food is known worldwide. The country is known for its “street culture” where a variety of local food and drinks are available at any time of the day. Festivals are also a huge part of their traditions, consisting of many activities ranging from the Lunar New Year to Mid-Autumn Festivals and Christmas.


3. Good level of security

Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam has a much stable political situation without any political conflicts and little cases of terrorism. However, there are still many cases of pickpocketing, so being aware of such instances could greatly help in being safe.


4. Expat communities are growing

With a large number of expats residing in Vietnam, moving in would be much more comfortable as there could be new friendships made. While some go to Vietnam to retain their roles in transnational companies for executive leadership, most are attracted to the work-life balance the country could provide.


5. Many opportunities to work

InterNations reports that in 2018, Vietnam ranks 1st in employing expats. The most popular job at the moment revolves around teaching foreign languages, with demands from HR recruitment in Vietnam rising as well, especially for schools from the kindergarten to university level.


6. Easy ways to set up their lives

With the people’s hospitable and warm personalities, they are also very accommodating especially when it comes to providing resources and services at a fair price. Banking and healthcare have also been made more accessible not only to the locals but also to foreign nationals, as some have retained executive search firms in their source of know-how when it comes to employment.


7. The geographic location allows travel to neighboring countries

Located in the Eastern part of Mainland Southeast Asia, this country is easily a gateway to other countries in Asia. By land, capitals like Bangkok, Vientiane, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and others are easily reachable, while Manila, Jakarta, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, and other nearby cities are also accessible by air.


The Job Market for Expats

Expats are hired in several key industries in the country: Information technology, marketing and sales, and engineering. These are only some of the different industries named by top recruitment agencies in Vietnam where expats are hired in, but Tough Nickel has created a list of the most common and higher-paying jobs for expats in the country.

Here are the industries that made it to the list:

1. Real estate

Land prices in Vietnam have been rising exponentially, contributing to the rise of the real estate industry. Laws allow foreigners and international organizations to buy houses and own them for up to 50 years! Real estate sellers can take advantage of the growth of the sector, and expats in Vietnam could easily enter the industry with the right set of information.


2. Foreign language

As it forms a significant part of Vietnam’s educational sector, teaching a foreign language has become more in-demand as English, and other foreign languages have become more desirable. This is due to globalization and the conduct of businesses with foreign investors, making the standards for teaching foreign languages more competitive than ever.


3. Lodging and food industry

Expats in Vietnam are allowed to put up and operate their restaurants and lodging homes. Foreign fast food chains are also doubling in number, as it attracts both locals and foreigners. With their advanced management skills, customer services, and the unique element of their cultures, many succeed in this industry.


4. Tour operations

Tourists crave for authenticity. In the case of Vietnam, the expats offer their services to tour visitors and appreciate the country from a familiar point of view. By knowing the local language, culture, traditions, and tastes, expats can make a good living.


5. Investment consultancy

The country has been receiving more FDIs through the years, resulting in a higher demand for assistance in fulfilling government and legal procedures. Expats who have come to be very familiar with the methods have begun offering their services as consultants for foreign investors who want to set up shop.


6. Market research

As the economy welcomes bigger companies, studying the market also becomes a need. Jobs that entail research, meeting up with clients, collecting data, and analyzing business data pay very well, encouraging more expats to take on jobs of the same nature.


7. Online writing

With globalization comes the rise of the internet which, for the case of Vietnam, has become relatively fast and stable. Online writers and content makers are new career paths chosen by expats with more creative sides. Some even partner with local media outlets for publication!


Moving to Vietnam

When putting foreign staff in Vietnamese positions, procedures, legal frameworks, and fiscal knowledge must be taken into consideration as part of a company’s proper executive leadership solutions.

1. Visas

An authentic work visa can be collected from the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate. If an expat plans to work within the country for an extended period, there are different types of visas to be procured depending on the kind of employment planned.

2. Work permits

In working for more than three months, work permits are needed. MoLISA lists the following basic eligibility and requirements for companies who want to employ expats:


  • At least 18 years of age;
  • In good enough health to satisfy job requirements;
  • A manager, executive director or expert with technical skills and knowledge necessary for the job;
  • Not currently subject to criminal prosecution or any criminal sentence in Vietnam or overseas; or have a criminal record.


  • The existing demand for the foreign worker(s);
  • The number of foreign worker(s) to be recruited;
  • The worker(s) qualifications, titles, work experience;
  • The worker(s) salary expectations;
  • The worker(s) periods of employment
  • The worker has a clean criminal record
  • If they take a management position must show relevant documents which prove this

3. Temporary residency

Cards for such purpose are issued by the immigration and recruitment agencies in Vietnam through the Ministry of Public Security. The card is valid for five years at maximum, enabling the owner to enter and exit Vietnam without a visa.

4. Social security contributions

Contributions are classified into health, social, and unemployment insurances. Health insurance has been available for expats since 2016 under certain conditions:

  1. Only expats working with local labor contracts are to pay
  2. Expats employed by foreign companies without a local contract are exempted, freeing them from any form of social security contributions.
  3. The employer has to pay 3% of the contribution while employees give 1.5% of their salary.


5. Taxes

Questions on taxation are by far among the most important. The General Department of Taxation provides comprehensive guidelines on tax filing and double taxation, as well as tax treaties. While it is sure to be a little intimidating, here is everything summed up for you.

Where to Go

Are you thinking of hiring an expat in Vietnam? Even in a rising economy, ensuring you have the proper avenue in looking for top executive leaders for your company is essential.

At Curran Daly and Associates, one of the newest overseas recruitment agencies in Vietnam, we think executive search should not be one of the complexities companies, and expats encounter. We have been operating in Vietnam since 2018 and can assist companies in sourcing outstanding talent.


Clarke, M. (2016, July 5). Expat employment in Vietnam: The comprehensive guide to work visas and work permits. Retrieved from

Curran Daly and Associates. (2018). Career and HR insights from the CDA blog. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from

Finaccord. (2018). Global Expatriates: Size, Segmentation and Forecasts for the Worldwide Market. Retrieved from,-Segmentation-and-Forecast

Hanh, V. (2018, January 22). Top 7 jobs for expats to earn quick money in Vietnam. Retrieved from

HSBC. (n.d.). Your guide to expat life in Vietnam. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from

InterNations. (2018). The expat insider survey. Retrieved from

Thue Viet Nam. (n.d.). Thue Viet Nam. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from

Vietnam Net. (2017). Number of foreign workers in Vietnam on the rise. Retrieved from

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