Libmonster ID: U.S.-1447
Author(s) of the publication: S. V. RYAZANTSEV, N. G. KUZNETSOV

Labor and educational migration of Vietnamese people began in Soviet times. In the 1980s. The Soviet Union was experiencing a labor shortage, and an agreement was made with Vietnam to invite Vietnamese workers to work. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they lost their jobs and livelihoods. Russia and Vietnam did not fulfill their obligations to pay employees for the return trip, and they had to survive at their own risk. The difficulties with Soviet-era Vietnamese migrants have not yet been completely overcome.

Despite the fact that there is currently no large-scale migration from Vietnam, new migration flows continue to form. Some sectors of the Russian economy still need Vietnamese people.

The migration flow from Vietnam to Russia consists of two main components - labor migration and educational migration. These categories of Vietnamese migrants who had experience of staying in Russia were studied in the course of a sociological survey of 300 Vietnamese people, which was conducted in 2009 by the authors of the article together with scientists from the Institute of Sociology of the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences.

Geographically, 8 provinces of Vietnam were surveyed, most of them located in the north of the country in three regions - the Red River Delta, the Northern Region and Mountainous Territories, the North-Central and Central-Coastal regions.

The choice of these provinces for the survey is related to the historical features of Vietnamese labor migration to Russia. Previous studies show that the majority of Vietnamese migrants in Russia come from the northern regions of the country. In addition, these areas have the highest population density in the country, which also serves as one of the factors stimulating departure.

The survey was conducted on the basis of a questionnaire that included several blocks of questions, the main ones of which were: socio-demographic profile, history of migration and life in Russia, living conditions, features of work or education, migration attitudes to re-labor migration to Russia, attitudes to children's education in Russian universities. Personal interviews were conducted in Vietnamese.

The respondents were selected using the "snowball" method, i.e. the respondents recommended their relatives and acquaintances who worked or studied in the USSR and Russia. The survey was organized by the Association of Graduates of Soviet and Russian Universities in Vietnam. The choice of this method was due to the fact that Vietnam does not have a single register of citizens who worked or studied in the USSR and Russia.

The largest number of respondents was surveyed in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, which has traditionally been one of the major Vietnamese suppliers of labor and educational migrants to Russia. A significant proportion of respondents also lived in such densely populated provinces as Thai Binh, Hai Zuong, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc, Hoa Binh, Bac Jan, Nam Dinh at the time of the survey.


The first Vietnamese in the Soviet Union were revolutionaries who came from 1925 to study at the Communist University of Workers of the East and other educational institutions. Total

The study was conducted within the framework of grants from the Russian Foundation for Natural Science N 08 - 03 - 94833 a/V and N 10-03-00912a/V.

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Figure 1. Settlement of Vietnamese in Russia (according to the 2002 census).

Until the end of the 1930s, about 70 Vietnamese were trained in the USSR, including the" leader of the Vietnamese revolution", the first president of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. Of the few remaining at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, a considerable part died in the Battle for Moscow, joining the Red Army as volunteers.

Vietnamese students returned to the USSR after the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1950.

An intergovernmental agreement signed on April 2, 1981, marked the beginning of large flows of Vietnamese labor migration to the Soviet Union. More than 103,000 people were employed under this agreement at 370 industrial enterprises in seven Soviet republics, mainly the Russian Federation (83%). In some enterprises, the share of Vietnamese workers reached 10-15% of the total workforce.

The main centers for attracting Vietnamese labor were formed in the Central and Volga regions and Western Siberia1.

Since 1991, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Vietnamese side has suspended sending new groups of migrants. At that time, 150 thousand Vietnamese remained in our country2. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, they lost their jobs and livelihoods. Many were denied re-registration, which made it impossible for them to legally reside in Russia, and they left, mostly at their own expense.

The second intergovernmental agreement on the principles of sending and receiving Vietnamese citizens to work in Russia, concluded on September 29, 1992, did not work in essence due to the beginning of structural changes in the Russian economy, the reorganization of departments and ministries.

1.3 thousand Vietnamese citizens were sent to Russia, and since 1994, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has completely stopped supplying workers to Russia.3 With the changing economy, many businesses that Vietnamese citizens came to work for simply closed down.

The "non-returnees" who remained after the collapse of the USSR and arrived later, life forced them to adapt to the new socio-economic conditions of existence. Many of them went into trade, shuttle business, and entrepreneurship.

Despite the fact that the 1981 agreement was actually implemented, it formally remained in force until recently. In the course of structural reforms in Russia, the previously existing system of payments for the use of labor was disrupted. Russia was indebted to Vietnam, and this debt continued to grow. Initially to payments in Russia and abroad

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Figure 2. Distribution of Vietnamese respondents for reasons of choosing a particular country for their children's education,%.

Accordingly, Vietnam's income included 60% of the social insurance payments for workers and reimbursement of part of the costs of their selection. In addition, Vietnamese citizens transferred 10% of their wages to their homeland.

The third agreement on temporary employment of Vietnamese citizens in Russia was signed on August 18, 2003. Its main drawback was that it did not specify the quantitative parameters of admission. This agreement recognizes the legality of the stay of citizens of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam who arrived under the agreement of April 2, 1981, provided that they register at the Embassy of Vietnam and obtain a work permit in Russia. An important part of the agreement is to determine whether a Vietnamese citizen can find work independently on the territory of Russia (Article 2 of the Protocol of the Agreement).

There are no exact figures on the number of Vietnamese in Russia and the CIS countries. According to rough estimates, in all the republics of the former USSR there are at least 350 - 400 thousand people. According to the 2002 census, 26,000 Vietnamese live in Russia, although in reality this figure is much higher, and according to our estimates, it reaches 100-150 thousand people.4 According to the latest available data from official Russian statistics, 95.2 thousand work permits were issued to Vietnamese citizens in Russia in 2008.5

Currently, most Vietnamese people live and work in Moscow, Stavropol Krai, Bashkortostan, Volgograd and Sverdlovsk Oblasts, Khabarovsk Krai, and several other regions of Russia.6 Newspapers and magazines are published in the capital in the Vietnamese language, and there is a satellite channel of Vietnamese television broadcasting programs for Vietnamese citizens living in Russia. Mostly Vietnamese people study, work in trade, agriculture, and the restaurant business, and employment in the manufacturing sector is growing.


On February 10, 1978, a special agreement on cooperation in educational migration was signed between the Governments of the USSR and Vietnam.

On the eve of the collapse of the USSR, almost 7 thousand students studied in the country. There are 7 Vietnamese students.

The collapse of the Soviet Union alienated Russia from Vietnam, relations at the political level cooled, ties between educational and scientific institutions were lost, and the flow of educational migrants to Russia decreased. A huge negative contribution was made by the reduction of opportunities for teaching Russian to Vietnamese people in Vietnam. The supply of Russian books has stopped there, insignificant funds are allocated for cultural events, and there are practically no grants for internships and training. As a result, the flow of educational migrants from Vietnam was reoriented to the West, Japan and Australia.

According to the latest available data, more than 25 thousand people studied abroad. Vietnamese students were sent to study mainly in the United States, France, Australia, Germany and Japan. More than 4 thousand Vietnamese students studied at Russian universities, which corresponded to the 5th place in the list of countries that supply foreign students to Russia8.

A survey conducted in 2009 by the authors of the article together with scientists from the Institute of Sociology of the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences showed that a third of Vietnamese people associated with Russia would like to teach their children in the United States, about 20% - in the UK, and 17% - in Australia. Russia is only in 10th place in this ranking. Half of the respondents said that under no circumstances would they want their children to study in Russia. And this is despite the fact that many of them themselves graduated from universities in Russia or worked there.

The main problems of cardinal and negative infidelities-

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Figure 3. Distribution of Vietnamese respondents for reasons of lack of desire to teach children in Russian universities,%.

There are two main reasons for the impact of new research projects on Russia.

The first and main reason is that the countries that attract Vietnamese students to study have effective public policies aimed at attracting educational migrants. They work through a system of foundations, promote the language, issue grants, and consider the policy of attracting foreign students as a priority. Russia does not have anything like this even in the first approximation. In fact, we lost out in the competition in the Vietnamese educational market.

In 2007, on the basis of interuniversity agreements, only 210 places were allocated for Vietnamese students in Russian universities. Of course, this is not the only channel for attracting students from Vietnam. There is also an Agreement between the Governments of Russia and Vietnam on the education of Vietnamese citizens in Russian universities dated July 9, 2002 (tuition is paid for under the debt-aid program), some of them study at the expense of the Vietnamese government and funds of Vietnamese companies and families.9 But this is not enough, and most importantly, there is no clearly defined policy in this regard.

Many parents in Vietnam view education as a channel for securing their children abroad for permanent residence. This was stated by 33% of respondents. In addition, the widespread use of English through a system of free and paid courses, schools, and programs has led to the fact that its knowledge now has an impact on the formation of migration flows. About 32 % of respondents said that they would send their children to university in the country where the child learned the language at school. Finally, 13% of respondents noted the effect of advertising about training opportunities in certain countries, and 12% - the quality of training.

The second reason for the reluctance of Vietnamese people to send their children to study in Russia is the situation in Russia itself. More than 42% of Vietnamese respondents believe that it is dangerous to live in Russia. Le Dinh Vu, Vice-president of the Vietnamese community in Russia, spoke very significantly about this.: "Skinheads are overshadowing the opportunities for exporting Russian education. Many Vietnamese parents withdraw their children from Russia and send them to study in Australia, although it is more expensive. Now we have a choice of where to teach our children: in Russia, Europe, America or Australia. However, if a specialist has received a higher education in Russia, he will always become a fan of Russian culture, science, and industry. Create a peaceful atmosphere, and Russia will have the same 15 thousand Vietnamese students as in Australia, or even more. Vietnamese sympathies for Russians are great, and this should not be discounted. " 10

Meanwhile, there is a huge potential for Vietnamese educational migration in Vietnam. The number of young people who need professional training and advanced training every year reaches 800 thousand 11.


Data from the Ministry of Labor of Vietnam indicate that in 2009, more than 51,000 Vietnamese went to work abroad.12

In the list of countries that are the main suppliers of labor migrants to Russia, Vietnam took the 9th place, and among the "non - cis" countries-the 3rd, after China and Turkey.

Comparing the employment sectors of Vietnamese people before and after migration to the USSR and Russia, we can say that they are characterized by concentration in industry and trade. This structure reflects the changes that the employment of Vietnamese migrants has undergone during the very difficult transition to market relations in Russia.

In 2007, Russia introduced a ban on issuing work permits in Russia to foreign citizens trading in retail markets. This decision caused a mixed reaction from the expert community.

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Figure 4. Distribution of Vietnamese respondents by place of work in Russia,%.

The authorities explained this ban as a desire to reduce the size of the informal economy, as well as to reduce the needs and importation of foreign labor into sectors of the Russian economy that, in their opinion, do not particularly need it. However, for Vietnamese who remained undocumented in Russia after the collapse of the USSR, trade was the only means of survival, since Russia did not fulfill the obligations of the USSR and did not send Vietnamese workers to their homeland at the time.

In this situation, many market owners found a way out: they re-registered the markets as shopping centers. And the ban on the use of foreign labor applied only to markets. As a result, the decision of the authorities did not significantly change the situation in terms of employment of migrants. Although it must be admitted, this decision made the forms of trade somewhat more civilized: the owners of retail outlets were forced to equip stores, observe sanitary and fire-fighting measures, etc.

For 34.6% of Vietnamese, the main places of work in Russia were industrial enterprises - factories (Figure 4).

During our field research in Russia, we visited new production facilities where Vietnamese people work. Many of them are created by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. For example, in the town of Rasskazovo, Tambov region, Vietnamese entrepreneur Do Van Vinh is engaged in tailoring workwear for oil workers in large volumes. In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, there is a large agricultural plant for raising pigs, created by a Vietnamese entrepreneur. In Krasnoyarsk, a woodworking factory for the production of national Vietnamese furniture, which is in demand among the population, is successfully operating.

According to the survey results, about 29.4% of Vietnamese people in Russia worked in enterprises and firms that were owned by the Russian state (Figure 5). 27.3% were themselves owners of their own business or enterprise. This figure, of course, also includes those Vietnamese who, as individual entrepreneurs, traded in the markets. Another 16% of Vietnamese people were employed at the enterprises of their compatriots who were able to open production facilities and firms in Russia. Approximately 14% of Vietnamese people worked for Russian private employers, while only 4% worked for joint-capital enterprises.

Vietnamese migration has features that differ from migration from the former Soviet Union. While migrants from former Soviet republics can regularly visit their homeland, migrants from Vietnam are more sedentary and less mobile. This is due to high ticket costs, less developed transport links, but the main thing is that it is difficult to get a ticket.-

Figure 5. Distribution of Vietnamese respondents by types of business owners and their employment in Russia,%.

page 40

applying for a visa and work permit to Russia. Since it is difficult to enter a second time, many Vietnamese tried to hold on with all possible forces to the last, so as not to leave Russia. It is no coincidence that 76% of Vietnamese respondents have visited our country only once.

Since the history of Vietnamese people in Russia is connected with organized migration, the results of a survey in Vietnam showed that 62% were sent to work or study in Russia through the state line.

Labor migration in Vietnam is on a fairly good organizational basis. Currently, both government agencies and private employment agencies are involved in training and dispatching Vietnamese workers. 24% of respondents received information about their work in Vietnamese state structures, and about the same number in Russian state structures. The share of private employment agencies was about 9%.

At the same time, the study shows that informal channels of information dissemination about employment in Russia still play a very significant role. According to 61% of Vietnamese respondents, they found a job in Russia through their relatives or acquaintances, i.e. through unofficial channels.

In the course of the sociological survey, the migration attitudes of Vietnamese people who had experience of living, working and studying in Russia were studied, as well as the main obstacles to their implementation. The survey showed that only 41% of respondents would like to go to work in Russia again. Of course, this is a rather low proportion in comparison with the CIS countries, where migrants have experience of repeatedly migrating to work in Russia. Repeated labor migration is very difficult for Vietnam due to its geographical distance from Russia, as well as a strict visa policy on the part of Russia. In addition, there are a lot of restrictive factors related to the situation in Russia itself.

Of those people who are focused on traveling to Russia, at the time of the survey, 21% were aware of this possibility, and more than 6% were preparing documents. The latter figure is extremely low for a situation where people have migration experience, speak a little Russian, and have been in the country. This suggests that there are powerful constraints preventing the implementation of plans for migration to Russia.

Let's try to understand them.

In the list of countries named by respondents who want to work abroad, Russia ranked only 6th. This shows that even among those Vietnamese who have had experience of living, working and studying in Russia, Russia is not a priority country for their employment. This trend is also confirmed by official statistics from the Ministry of Labor of Vietnam.

In 2009, more than 51,000 Vietnamese were employed abroad. Russia was not included in the list of the top ten and is not even highlighted in the list of the main countries of employment. Vietnamese people went to work in neighboring countries and regions: Taiwan (11.5 thousand), South Korea (11 thousand), Malaysia (7 thousand), Japan (2.1 thousand people)13.The United States, European countries, Australia, and the Middle East were also among the priority countries for labor migration.

In our survey, Russia also ranked only 9th (Figure 6). The United States (25.1%), Japan (16.3%) and South Korea (13.9%) are most in demand among potential migrants.

The main reason for the change in the vectors of Vietnamese migration is that the salary level in Russia is much lower than similar opportunities in other countries. About 66% of Vietnamese respondents believe that salaries in these countries are much higher. Vietnamese experts in the field of employment abroad indicate that in Japan and Korea, Viet Nam is the most popular destination in the world.-

Figure 6. Distribution of Vietnamese respondents by countries of potential migration to work,%.

page 41

a Belarusian migrant can earn up to $4-5 thousand a month. In Russia, the maximum salary level for a Vietnamese is up to $1 thousand, and more often - $300-400. Combined with the lack of security and strict visa procedures, all this leads to a reorientation of labor migration from Vietnam, primarily to Asian countries. In addition, many countries are located much closer to Vietnam (14%), these countries are easier to get to (14%), they conduct an active advertising campaign to hire foreign labor (6%), and they are close to the Vietnamese in mental and cultural relations.

Vietnam is one of the countries whose citizens traditionally have a fairly significant share in the overall structure of migration to the Russian Federation. Trips of citizens of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Russia are carried out on the basis of the intergovernmental agreement on the conditions of mutual travel of citizens signed in Moscow on October 28, 1993.

In accordance with this agreement, Vietnamese citizens enter the Russian Federation on visas. The majority of Vietnamese people arrive by plane (96%). Currently, a number of Russian cities have established air links with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The largest air carriers in this direction are Aeroflot and Vietnam Airlines. The overall structure of migration of Vietnamese citizens to Russia is dominated by official (61%) and private (22%) trips, as well as for transit to third countries (about 10%).

Expert estimates indicate that there may now be 50-60 thousand illegal migrants from Vietnam on the territory of Russia 14.

Being in difficult and disenfranchised conditions and often being the object of illegal levies, such migrants complicate the criminogenic and unsanitary situation in their places of residence. Most Vietnamese citizens with illegal status would like to leave for their homeland, and then come to Russia to work again, but this time legally. However, few people have the necessary funds to leave for their homeland. Given the high cost of air tickets to Hanoi, it is also difficult to assume that tens of thousands of Vietnamese illegal immigrants will be deported from the country at public expense.

The main type of violation of Russian migration legislation by Vietnamese citizens is violation of the regime of stay in the Russian Federation, which is usually expressed in non-compliance with the procedure for registering for migration or movement or choosing a place of residence, as well as in evading leaving Russia after a certain period of stay.

Among other violations of the regime of stay on the territory of the Russian Federation committed by Vietnamese citizens, the most typical is the use of forged, alien, expired documents or their complete absence. For illegal migration to Russian territory, Vietnamese citizens actively use official invitations from legal entities founded by Vietnamese permanently residing in Russia.

A significant number of illegal migrants from Vietnam find employment in enterprises owned by their compatriots for the production of counterfeit (fake) consumer goods, often underground.

Some Vietnamese citizens who are illegally staying in Russia have the ultimate goal of illegally entering the European Union, usually through the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Historically formed and newly formed diasporas of Vietnamese immigrants are characterized by a high degree of socio-cultural isolation, stable ties with the ethnic homeland, a high level of reproduction, organization and interconnection, have their own system of punishing violators of accepted norms of behavior and are largely controlled by ethnically related criminal structures.

(The ending follows)

Ryazantsev S. V., Kuznetsov N. G. 1 Migratsiya iz v Nama v Rossii: tendentsii i regulirovanie [Migration from Vietnam to Russia: trends and Regulation]: status, problems, and trends. Under the general editorship. Romodanovskogo K. O., Tyurkina M. L. M., FMS of Russia, 2009, pp. 248-249.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid., p. 239.

5 Monitoring of legal (legal) external labor migration for 2007-2008, Moscow, FMS of Russia, 2009, pp. 30-31.

Kuznetsov N. G. 6 Vietnamese migrants in Russia / / Population. 2008, N 4, p. 83.

7 Kuznetsov N. G. Integration of Vietnamese migrants into the Russian society // Migration between Russia and Vietnam: history, current trends and role in the socio-economic development of countries. Proceedings of the international scientific and practical Conference. 29.11.2007. ISPI RAS, RUDN University, MAKS Press, p. 101.

8 Training of foreign citizens in higher educational institutions of the Russian Federation: Statistical collection. Issue 6 / Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Moscow, TSPiM, 2009, p. 18.

Ryazantsev S. V., Kuznetsov N. G. 9 Edict op., p. 242.

Le Dinh Vu. 10 Delo go / / Konkurentsiya i rynok [Competition and Market]. No. 30, June 2006, p. 85.

11 Pismennaya E. E. Sotsial'nye effekty uchebnoi migratsii i politika v sfere privlecheniya inostrannykh studentov v Rossii i za rubezhom [Social effects of educational migration and policy in attracting foreign students in Russia and abroad].


13 Ibidem.

Ryazantsev S. V., Kuznetsov N. G. 14 Edict op., p. 247.


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