Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia - Key findings in Viet Nam

The survey was conducted jointly by the ILO’s TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme and the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) ‘Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement project’ (PROMISE), working in partnership with the management consulting firm Rapid Asia.

During the last two decades, labour migration has emerged as a significant driver of economic growth and development in both countries of origin and destination within ASEAN. There are now estimated to be 20.2 million migrants originating from ASEAN countries, among whom nearly 6.9 million have migrated to other countries within the region.

Due to the high costs, long duration, and considerable complexity of navigating the existing bilateral channels for migration, many intra-ASEAN migrants are precariously employed in an irregular status. Most of the workers involved in intra-ASEAN labour migration are employed in low-skilled, labour-intensive jobs. Regardless of the legal documents they hold, migrants employed in low-skilled work often face exploitation.

While assumptions are often made about the end result of migration in ASEAN and how best to ensure a safe and rewarding experience for migrant workers, the collection and analysis of empirical data has been very limited. Due to the temporary and irregular nature of much of the migration occurring within the region, the realities faced by migrant workers are often hidden from view. This study aims to help fill the knowledge gap on the socio-economic outcomes of migration into low-skilled work within the region.