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Considering expat assignment in Vietnam

Hello All,

Wish everyone on this forum well.  I'm new here.

After years working in Canada, and a few years in Australia, I'm now considering an expat opportunity in Vietnam.  Can anyone give me a rough idea of what a full expat package would include, and what is the normal assignment length; 2, 3 years or longer.  Are there good international schools in Hanoi for kids; age 4 and 9?

Many thanks in advance.

Dan

Assuming you will keep your Canadian salary with maybe even an allowance for housing and overseas assignment, and assuming you are in some management role and not an intern or such, you will be living like a king.  Maybe a villa in a gated community or a penthouse apartment.  You will have a car and driver on call.  The only hangup could be the international school tuition for two.

NOTE: I applied for my current position from within my company in America. Unless you're getting headhunted by foreign MNCs do not expect much in the way of a decent (or existent) relocation package, benefits, or salary if applying directly to a Vietnamese company or branch.

I'm on assignment for two years. However, prior to negotiations I was strongly urged to take a pre-move visit. I was given a tour of our facility and the employee housing in Vietnam.

I negotiated a lump sum (30k pre-tax) for relocation costs. Actual moving costs totaled to less than $5,200 out-of-pocket with airfare coming in at ~$4,700 (after airline miles) and shipping costs (through Vietnamese cargo agent) at ~$300. Salary was a bit harder to negotiate until I agreed to at least two years in Vietnam.

In addition to keeping all of my existing benefits, the new benefits included: temporary living expenses with a 10-day stay at the Hyatt in D1*, a private driver, annual flights home, and most importantly - international schooling for our son.

Of course, all other services or expenses required for entry into Vietnam were handled in-house.

*Originally 5 days but I requested an extended stay in order to allow my family to settle in and get acclimated to Vietnam. We also needed time to find housing accommodation since we had decided to forgo employee housing in D9 in favor of living in D7.

All relocation packages, at the very least, should include your family (medical and education). Good luck with your search.

Thanks THIGV and Kupo for the valuable feedback.

This is a headhunted management position by a foreign agency for one of the Metro projects.  The biggest concern for me is the international schooling for our kids.  Do you know roughly the cost each year for one kid?

Thanks again.

http://www.hisvietnam.com/index.php/en/ … n-and-fees

Hey Dan,

I just relocated to Hanoi, Vietnam with my wife. We arrived here 3 days ago from the USA. My wife is the one who landed a teaching job here so I can't speak much about the package. I myself do business all over Asia so it was a convenient place to relocate for the time being. I can tell you what I do know. I do know that my wife's salary is very good (40k+ usd) and not taxed. The contract is 2 years. She also gets free housing (surprisingly big and spacious with an amazing view), a taxi card provided by the school for transportation, free gym memberships for both of us, and healthcare for both of us. Also, the cost of living here is very cheap. A full meal for both of us totals up to $6. We also plan on getting Motorbikes which cost roughly $700-$1000 usd for newer models, and you can go 300 km on a full tank. A full tank of gas would cost you roughly $2-$4 usd depending on the type of bike you got.

As for the experience so far, people seem to be very friendly. You will get the occasional patriotic haters (but rarely). We haven't really explored the inner city just yet, but from what I hear, its a lot more aggressive and foreigners get ripped off quite often. Honestly though, I've lived overseas in many different countries. Half the things I've read online about the dangers of living in countries like Vietnam stems mostly from inexperienced paranoid travelers or travelers who haven't lived in a busy city like NY. Don't get me wrong, the dangers are very real. Like NY (a fast pace city), one just has to be sharp and aware. You have to present confidence with a hint of aggressiveness. This type of "swag" and state of mind tells the locals that you're not an average American raised in the bubble of what is America.

The one thing we haven't done yet is look for other expats like us. Hanoi doesn't seem to have too many, but they definitely exist. In fact, one of our main concerns is being able to connect with good folks from abroad for some socializing. We don't mind a night out bar hopping or getting together with a few drinks in a relaxed house party. If you do end up heading this way, feel free to connect with us. Good luck with your decision and hope for the best.


Ares

Ares703 :

I can tell you what I do know. I do know that my wife's salary is very good (40k+ usd) and not taxed. The contract is 2 years. She also gets free housing (surprisingly big and spacious with an amazing view), a taxi card provided by the school for transportation, free gym memberships for both of us, and healthcare for both of us.

Presumably your wife is working at either a private university or one of the most expensive international high schools.  Her raw salary alone is about 3X what most ESL teachers in the country make and probably puts you in the top 1% of expats not even counting the native population.  You lament not knowing many other expats but you should understand that while people on assignment with international companies, like Kupo, may make a bit more than her, you should realize that your expat experience in Vietnam is not typical.  The vast majority of expats in Vietnam seem to be either ESL teachers or struggling entrepreneurs.

I also question how your wife's salary avoids taxation.  She should be taxed at 20%.

@Ares703,
  Thanks for the insight on the valuable experiences and knowledge of Vietnam in your first 3 days in country. Extremely helpful for all of us. Hopefully you will get your luggage unpacked soon and take a peek under the hood.

Ares703 :

HI've lived overseas in many different countries. Half the things I've read online about the dangers of living in countries like Vietnam stems mostly from inexperienced paranoid travelers...

Bingo. In addition to paranoia, I would also add arrogance, cognitive impairment, and indoctrination to travelers and lifers alike!

Here's to an eventful (but safe) two years!

Alwaysready :

Thanks THIGV and Kupo for the valuable feedback.

This is a headhunted management position by a foreign agency for one of the Metro projects. The biggest concern for me is the international schooling for our kids.  Do you know roughly the cost each year for one kid?

Thanks again.

Good for you! Your relocation package will be leagues above mine.  :top:

I can't speak for Hanoi but my son (3 years old) attends SSIS (Saigon) and the annual tuition for children aged 3-5 is ~300M VND. Kindergarten and up is 350M - 600M VND.

THIGV :
Ares703 :

I can tell you what I do know. I do know that my wife's salary is very good (40k+ usd) and not taxed. The contract is 2 years. She also gets free housing (surprisingly big and spacious with an amazing view), a taxi card provided by the school for transportation, free gym memberships for both of us, and healthcare for both of us.

Presumably your wife is working at either a private university or one of the most expensive international high schools.  Her raw salary alone is about 3X what most ESL teachers in the country make and probably puts you in the top 1% of expats not even counting the native population.  You lament not knowing many other expats but you should understand that while people on assignment with international companies, like Kupo, may make a bit more than her, you should realize that your expat experience in Vietnam is not typical.  The vast majority of expats in Vietnam seem to be either ESL teachers or struggling entrepreneurs.

I also question how your wife's salary avoids taxation.  She should be taxed at 20%.

I did add I've only been here for a few days so far. I am strictly speaking on my introductory experience. When it comes to knowing expats, I realize that I've barely scratched the surface. Again, this is all from a few days of experience which I mentioned in my post. I also understand that I'll bump into more expats via nightlife (bars/clubs).

My wife is definitely not an ESL teacher. And although the vast majority of expats in Vietnam are ESL teachers, I don't think the OP has made his position clear (if he did, I apologize). Unfortunately I cannot share exactly what my wife teaches for various safety reasons. I do not want to give away too much information that would put her at risk of losing her job. She was indeed hired directly by an international school. I am not sure if it is private. The school is definitely not a university. As for taxation on her salary goes, I can assure you that her contract clearly says she will not be taxed. How and why, I don't know. For a peace of mind, I will ask her about the taxation today. I can't promise any detailed answers concerning the tax due to the risk of jeopardizing her position.

As the days go by, I will keep you and everyone else posted.


Ares

Hello,

I am Ares' wife. Yes, I teach at a private school. Yes, my salary is untaxed here in Vietnam, but not safe from taxation back in the States. I received a relocation bonus, airfare was provided, health benefits, rent-free apartment, and a severance package after my 2 year contract should I wish to leave. Pay grade is based off of years of experience. This package is on-par with my last teaching assignment abroad. It's an attractive package indeed.

Being day 4, and having just gotten over the worst of the jet lag, we have hopes to get out into the city soon and meet some future friends. Cant wait to sit down with some folk and share some stories over a beer. Planning to spend the next weekend exploring the city a bit as well. As Diazo said, start to peek under the hood a bit.

As far as international schooling goes, check out British International School, United Nations School, and TH School. Just three schools to get started.

http://img.nordangliaeducation.com/reso … 7-2018.pdf

http://www.unishanoi.org/uploaded/Admis … l_Year.pdf

http://www.thschool.edu.vn/tuyen-sinh/#page/6

Sounds like it must be a deep cover CIA job. Ah tge intrigue if it all. The suspense keeps building. Three days and I just can not imagine how the spy operation turns it. What we could do I get them all lathered up on some hootch at one of those nights out on the town. They will tell all the secrets I am sure. If hubby is any indication she certainly is no ESL teacher you would think.

Diazo :

Sounds like it must be a deep cover CIA job. Ah tge intrigue if it all. The suspense keeps building. Three days and I just can not imagine how the spy operation turns it. What we could do I get them all lathered up on some hootch at one of those nights out on the town. They will tell all the secrets I am sure. If hubby is any indication she certainly is no ESL teacher you would think.

Haha, I wish my life was that interesting 😎.

Well I hope she can stay unconventional and safe
for the duration of the assignment. Only  727 days remaing. Sounds like she is in good hands unless you let her get into those bars and you both let your hard down., You will find all these expat here are English teachers undercover only. They have toppled the apple cart of many a new spy.
There are rumors tgat not all expats here are English teachers. Something g maybe your spy network can get to the bottom of. Good luck in the assignment. I have learned more about Vietnam and tge than clay life from you in the 3 days you have been here then the entire 5 years I have lived here. !!!😀😀😀👍

Thanks everyone for sharing your expat life experience.  Vietnam isn't a strange country to me.  I was born in a city (Halong, was a small town then) hours from Hanoi.  I left the country 30+ years ago as a teenager. The reason for my post here is to gather as much info (benefts) as possible on other expat assignments to prepare myself when talking to the headhunter...just to make sure I maximise the opportunity :)

Hope to meet you all one day...over a few drinks, they are cheap in Vietnam :)

Thanks again and all the best to all.

Regards,
Dan

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