Institute for Social Development Studies

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IDRC Project

Project duration: May 2007-May 2011 (4 years)


Research institutions:

In Vietnam: Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS

In Canada: Department of Sociology and Population Studies Center, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Project leaders: Danièle Bélanger (Western, Canada); Le Bach Duong (ISDS, Vietnam)

Collaborating researchers: Khuat Thu Hong (ISDS, Vietnam), Nguyen Thi Van Anh (ISDS, Vietnam), Tran Giang Linh (ISDS, Vietnam), Hye-Kyung Lee (Pai Chai University, South Korea), Wang Hongzen (National Sun-Yat-Sen University, Taiwan), Emiko Ochiai (Kyoto University, Japan) and Kayoko Ueno (Tokushima University, Japan)

Total budget: CAN$363,557.00 (Western and ISDS budgets combined)


Rationale: Preliminary research has indicated that recent international migrants from rural and poor areas of Vietnam who migrate for work (contract labour migration) or marriage (marriage migration) to Asian countries are at risk of fraud, deception, abuse and trafficking. Despite frequent problems, this migration can also promote development through economic and social remittances. Women constitute the majority of these new migrants and are particularly at risk because most of them live in private households (as domestic workers or ‘foreign brides’). More research is needed to enhance migrants’ experiences, monitor programs and inform policy in both sending and receiving countries of migrants.


General objective: Study how the increasing transnational migration of Vietnamese women (and men) for unskilled work or marriage migration creates opportunities and vulnerabilities for migrants, their families and communities.


Specific objectives:

  1. Identify rights issues faced by Vietnamese migrants to Asian countries for unskilled work or marriage.
  2. Assess how transnational migration impacts sending families and communities.
  3. Document the connections between work migration, marriage migration, and trafficking.



  1. Analysis of existing data and review of literature: legal frameworks for the export/import of labour and the migration of brides in receiving and sending countries
  2. Empirical study of the process of exporting/importing Vietnamese workers and brides: recruitment, training, travel, placement, work abroad/marriage, and return
  3. Empirical study of the impact of  transnational migration on migrants, their families, and communities
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