Vietnam offers easy finances but bad administration: expats

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As many as 80% of expats surveyed said they were satisfied with the general cost of living in Vietnam compared to the global rate of 45%, ranking Vietnam first in the world in the “personal finance” index, according to a published survey. Tuesday by the world’s largest expat community, InterNations.

“There are affordable prices in almost all areas,” said a Swiss expat who remains anonymous.

Ninety-two percent say their household disposable income is enough or more than enough to live a comfortable life, compared to 72% globally.

“I live comfortably on my limited income,” shared an American expat.

For its annual Expat Insider survey, conducted for the ninth time this year, InterNations polled nearly 12,000 expats living in 52 countries and territories about living and working abroad.

As the survey revealed, Vietnam is also considered a destination where expats can easily settle down and make friends.

The country ranks ninth in the “Ease of Settling” index, with 84% describing locals as generally friendly compared to 66% globally, while 83% find them friendly to foreign residents in particular compared to 65% somewhere else.

For the “Find Friends” subcategory, expats rank seventh in Vietnam, saying it’s easy to make local friends.

Bad experience

Overall, Vietnam ranks 7th out of 52 destinations in the 2022 Expat Insider survey, with 84% of expats satisfied with their life in Vietnam, compared to a global rate of 71%. It ranks behind Mexico, Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, and ahead of Thailand, Australia and Singapore.

However, expats rate Vietnam very low when it comes to administration, 46th on the “Expat Essentials” index.

In the index’s “Administrative Subjects” subcategory, Vietnam ranks 51st, just above Malta.

Expats struggle with dealing with local bureaucracy (66% vs. 39% globally), opening a local bank account (41% vs. 21% globally), and obtaining a visa to move there ( 48% vs. 24% globally).

Expats vote the country last (52nd) for the availability of administrative/government services online, and nearly one in four expats generally find it difficult to pay cashless, compared to 8% globally.

They also raise concerns about environmental issues and the healthcare system.

The country ranks in the bottom 10 of the “Quality of Life” index, where it is ranked 48th. More than half of them (53%) are unhappy with the urban environment, which is more than three times the global average.

“The noise pollution is terrible,” commented a French expat.

Expatriates are particularly unhappy with air quality (64% dissatisfied compared to 19% globally).

“Smog is a huge problem and the air is really toxic,” notes an Italian expat.

Additionally, more than half of expats think the government does not support environmental protection policies (compared to 18% globally), ranking the country 50th on this factor.

Moreover, expats in Vietnam are not satisfied with the country’s healthcare system. Around one in five expats say health care is “generally unavailable” and one in four say it is difficult to access all types of health services they need.

Where expats can access healthcare services, they find them to be of poor quality, with 23% unhappy with the quality of medical care, compared to 14% globally.

The number of expatriates living and working in Vietnam was 117,800 in 2019, ten times more than in 2005 and 1.4 times more than in 2015.

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