(Viet Nam News) Despite the average Vietnamese salary being around VNĐ5,200,000 (US$220), in jobs like teaching where most expats are employed, wages start at around VNDD30,000,000 ($1,300) a month.
For many years now, Việt Nam has been a popular tourist destination – in fact, prior to the start of the COVID pandemic in 2019, over 18 million international tourists visited the country.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, hundreds of thousands of foreigners also decided to make Việt Nam their home. Although there is no official figure on the number of expats living in the country, a report from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs shows that as of April, 2021 there were about 101,550 foreigners working in Việt Nam on a permanent basis.
Stevie Willows from South Africa puts a lot of it down to the cost of living.
“The cost of living is cheap, [Việt Nam is] close to other Asia countries, so it’s easy to travel. Socialising is easy and cheap too,” he said.
It’s no secret that the cost of living is a big factor for many expats living in Việt Nam.
Despite the average Vietnamese salary being around VNĐ7.8 million (US$336), in jobs like teaching where many expats are employed, wages start at around VNĐ30,000,000 ($1,300) a month. This makes both the cost and quality of life very appealing to foreigners who are considering making Việt Nam their home, especially in comparison to the savings-to-outgoings ratio in most peoples’ home countries.
Kelsey Scheepers, also from South Africa, agrees: “Living costs are much more viable as opposed to my own country.”
However, while the cost of living is a big draw, it isn’t the only reason that many foreigners have made Việt Nam their home. Others were drawn here by their work and didn’t expect to stay for so long.
Callum Maxwell is an Australian whose company posted him to Việt Nam, initially on a one-year contract. However, because of the culture, people, and food, he’s decided to extend his contract and stay for longer.
“I love seafood, especially things like fried eels, which you don’t see very often in Australia. That, combined with just how friendly and welcoming the people are, is a big reason that I’ve decided to stay in Việt Nam longer than I initially thought.”
The cost of living, high salary and savings potential are no doubt alluring for foreigners that have chosen to make Việt Nam their home. However, it is clear that while the pay and savings potential is a big draw that gets people here initially, it’s the quality of life, culture and ultimately the people of Việt Nam that convinces people to stay.