Vietnamese Indicted for marriage fraud in Houston

Not surprised, but given the number of people involved and the costs $50k to $70k, one has to wonder how much, if any, there are locals in the U.S. Embassy tied into this operation, given the difficulty in obtaining these types of visa in VN.  Second, given the average salary in VN is about $300 a month, who can pay that much to get a visa?  I am guessing that those who get to the USA are in serious debt and probably have to work like slaves to pay them off, with interest of course.

I sure hope this does not impede those who are honest and seeking a visa.

https://www.breitbart.com/border/2019/0 … -attorney/

Umm...given the source, Breitbart and atmosphere regarding immigration per the current administration...cast a suspicious eye on the whole thing per validity and motivation. they have taken to an agenda of kicking out anyone they don't like.

I don't know about you average income figures for Vietnam. That's higher than many I know there...with decent jobs.  Teaching professionals with degrees for example.

Brooky :

Umm...given the source, Breitbart and atmosphere regarding immigration per the current administration...cast a suspicious eye on the whole thing per validity and motivation. they have taken to an agenda of kicking out anyone they don't like.

I don't know about you average income figures for Vietnam. That's higher than many I know there...with decent jobs.  Teaching professionals with degrees for example.

Think critically, not politically, facts are facts.  Based on your post, it appears you have an issue with sources and not facts and thus, here is a source you might find more to your liking, but it does not change the facts.  For your political issues, start a new thread and I respectfully ask that you do not troll here.

https://abc30.com/nearly-100-charged-in … e/5298964/

vndreamer :

given the average salary in VN is about $300 a month,

Brooky :

I don't know about you average income figures for Vietnam. That's higher than many I know there...with decent jobs.  Teaching professionals with degrees for example.

vndreamer is correct.  The salary for non-skilled labour is 5.5M before meals and 13th month.   The woman who sweeps our sidewalk every day with a broom earn more than 7.5M.   Adding meals and 13th month then divide by 12, the number is almost 9M. 

Salary for positions that require special training are higher.

Average income is a different story altogether.  In calculating average income, you use higher salary earners together with lower ones, then average all the numbers.  The result is much, much higher than what you (Brooky) think.  Even much higher than vndreamer's $300 estimation.  If you don't believe me, go to Trung Nguyen cafe on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia in Q3, listen in on the young professionals' conversations and find out for yourself.  Some of them have no problem discussing their 20M salary.

Love the vndreamer's analogy.

How apropos.

Houston does have a large population of Vietnamese. Most likely these women would owe the money and have to pay it off, many working at nail salons or restaurants,...

No doubt, qnbui. The Viet women are no doubt being victimized just as much as the Koreans.

Brooky :

Umm...given the source, Breitbart and atmosphere regarding immigration per the current administration...cast a suspicious eye on the whole thing per validity and motivation. they have taken to an agenda of kicking out anyone they don't like.
.

Links to dodgy news sites are always questionable, but the trick is fact checking them in order to see if they're liars on this occasion.
The story is now reported by several more trustworthy outlets, but that only means it's hit the wire, not that it's true.

I'm interested so I'll have a peek when I'm on a computer later.

A lot of people have that kind of money in Viet Nam. There are over 25k Viet nationals attending American universities alone, costing much more than $50k to $70k. If you're in the Viet community, in and outside the U.S., you'll know this is extremely common and happens thousands of times a year. These people are not "slaves" and are not charge interest. Usually, the "fees" are broken into payments, with the largest and last being paid after the person receives their green card.

Most of these people, if not all, are relatives of people in the nail business. The people paying are their families in the U.S. It's a win-win for everyone involved. You just don't understand how these things work. You think the person is being taken advantage of but they are not. A "fresh off the boat" nail tech will earn around $60k or more a year, tax-free. By the time they get their green card, they'll be getting close to twice that and claiming around 20%. Not to mention all the government programs they will qualify for. As I said, you just don't understand how it works. Bottom line is $70k is a bargain.

Just had a quick look using the following method:

Ignored idiotic, racist, right wing sites

ignored all sites that use the same wording as idiotic, racist, right wing sites (They just copied from the wire and printed blindly, thus are pointless)

Looked at quality sites with quality journalists, then conducted a quick investigation.

That took about ten minutes, and the results are not good.
The first thing worth looking at (Breitbart and Fox are pointless comics that aren't worth looking at unless you happen to be mentally ill or stupid) was this :

LINK

Then the suspect company's site

http://www.phamnguyenlaw.com/

Then finding out they're nasty little sods with a bent to lie

http://www.bjrsolicitors.com/

Their claimed top man is in fact an Irish solicitor of good repute (If that's possible for someone in that trade :D ).

Much as I can see the reason many would want to leave Vietnam and head for America, this is just a nasty scam, thus they deserve whatever comes their way, even if it is a good deal for those who partake of the service.
Unfortunately for the Vietnamese that did this and paid up their money, the investigators will very probably hunt them down and deport them as soon as possible so they've wasted their cash - something they'll have to live with as they knowingly engaged in a fraud.

For those who can read vietnamese and can think critically, here is a Vietnam version:
http://viendongdaily.com/gan-100-nguoi- … rDlW2.html

What's about this other source? Will you trust the figures of 70,000 people involved in fakes marriages and the arrest of dozens people across the US? Facts are facts, no matter how you hate to admit.  Here's the link to the latest report.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/federal-bust … ation-scam

Given the conditions of poverty, low wages, poor health care, pollution, and lack of opportunities in most Asian countries, people would do anything for a visa to live in America.

vndreamer :

For those who can read vietnamese and can think critically, here is a Vietnam version:
http://viendongdaily.com/gan-100-nguoi- … rDlW2.html

That's a bit of a crap bit of investigative reporting  - They totally missed the fake lawyer picture

Libhero :

What's about this other source? Will you trust the figures of 70,000 people involved in fakes marriages and the arrest of dozens people across the US? Facts are facts, no matter how you hate to admit........

https://www.foxnews.com/us/federal-bust … tion-scam.

It might well be possible the figures are correct, but you're posting links to poor quality, far right sites known for xenophobia, racism, lying, and generally being crap. No one with any intelligence will accept the word of Fox and other rubbish outlets - Even if they actually aren't making it up this time, they lie so often nobody believes them.

You have to post quality links if you want anyone endowed with a brain to consider them.

In other news you should believe without a thought, OMG - How did that get there?

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSOzXirXiO_-hdC7U8oBWKOEmx_2vjTENpXWw-TR-5FSHcJ9mFe

Fred :
Libhero :

What's about this other source? Will you trust the figures of 70,000 people involved in fakes marriages and the arrest of dozens people across the US? Facts are facts, no matter how you hate to admit........

https://www.foxnews.com/us/federal-bust … tion-scam.

It might well be possible the figures are correct, but you're posting links to poor quality, far right sites known for xenophobia, racism, lying, and generally being crap. No one with any intelligence will accept the word of Fox and other rubbish outlets - Even if they actually aren't making it up this time, they lie so often nobody believes them.

You have to post quality links if you want anyone endowed with a brain to consider them.

In other news you should believe without a thought, OMG - How did that get there?

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/imag … 5FSHcJ9mFe

Will CNN and MSNBC be accepted as informative sites.

colinoscapee :

Will CNN and MSNBC be accepted as informative sites.

Don't really know the latter, but I'd double check anything I see on CNN before I believed it.

The above goes for any news outlet with an agenda other than just news.
Fox is right wing, CNN tends to be left - The only difference is their reason to bend reality, so I trust neither.

That someone cynical thought process started many years ago when I started delivering newspapers - Every paper telling the story with its own version of the truth.
Then I started listening to Voice of America and Radio Moscow - Same stories - Different lies.

Have a listen to this - then hear the truth at the end. The thing was a real story put about by scumbag editors with an agenda of hate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_PG3xIUrv0&t=1s

Brooky :

I don't know about you average income figures for Vietnam. That's higher than many I know there...with decent jobs.  Teaching professionals with degrees for example.

I was basing my opinion on the average salary from a couple years ago when I was doing some research.  To my surprise, I did some research and some sources actually say the average salary is less than $300 a month.  For example, this study was done last year and they state the average salary per person in VN is 3.2 million dong ($150).  Of course there are professionals who make a lot more and the article does provide information about those salaries as well.  You have to keep in mind that there has to be millions of people making less than 3.2 million to get the average that low. 

https://www.vietnamonline.com/az/average-salary.html

But then there is another analysis from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, which shows that my estimate was closer to this analysis of just under 6 million monthly:

https://tradingeconomics.com/vietnam/wages

Adhome01 :

Most of these people, if not all, are relatives of people in the nail business. The people paying are their families in the U.S. It's a win-win for everyone involved. You just don't understand how these things work. You think the person is being taken advantage of but they are not. A "fresh off the boat" nail tech will earn around $60k or more a year, tax-free. By the time they get their green card, they'll be getting close to twice that and claiming around 20%. Not to mention all the government programs they will qualify for. As I said, you just don't understand how it works. Bottom line is $70k is a bargain.

I think you have the idea right but your numbers are a little high.  To net $60K/yr a nail technician working six days a week at ten hours a day (a 60 hour week) would need to make $20 every single hour of the year, which is $40/hr before commissions.  This is a pretty tall order even in the busiest of shops with the highest pricing structure.  As for "by the time they get their green card," they get a temporary green card on arrival as they are married.  A permanent green card comes in two years.  As far as government programs, this is a common anti-immigration trope.  If they ever hope to become a US citizen, they will need to avoid these programs like they were poison because accepting means tested aid blocks one from naturalization.  Now if "Auntie" is the owner of the shop, she has an added motive to bring her niece as she makes money off of her US labor even if she never asks the immigrant for repayment.  This is why most of these fees are actually paid by Vietnamese relatives in the US on behalf of the immigrant.  I really feel that most of these people are driven to pay for their relatives out of a sincere desire for reunification and not to seek repayment from them.  It is also why the discussion of average wages in Vietnam is somewhat irrelevant as the fees are being mostly paid for from the US side.  In fact if you examine the wage/living cost ratio, living in Vietnam may be preferable, particularly for those with skills.  An engineer working in the kitchen of a Viet restaurant in  Dallas is arguably not better off than if he had stayed in Vietnam.

Not all of these marriages have financial motives.  I knew one woman who was a friend of my wife's in HCM, who was in her 60's, whose sister arranged and paid for a phony marriage to an older Vietnamese-American man.   Sadly she had a heart attack and died within her first month in the US.

With respect to the veracity of the news sources, anyone who has had any contact with the Vietnamese-American community has heard of these phony marriages.  Whether it's Breitbart on one end or ABC News on the other, it is probably true.

Here is the offical post:
https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-release … Pv6af3hk0w

The Dallas Viet nail technicians don't make anywhere near that kind of money.

Angie has 20 years experience, owned and sold her shop because of competition, and now works as an employee for a large franchise and makes about $35K.

She is very happy to have that. She was working 364/7/12 just to make ends meet.

Jim-Minh :

The Dallas Viet nail technicians don't make anywhere near that kind of money.

Angie has 20 years experience, owned and sold her shop because of competition, and now works as an employee for a large franchise and makes about $35K.

She is very happy to have that. She was working 364/7/12 just to make ends meet.

I can agree to that as well.  Despite what others "say" the reality is very different.  It is not just VN, but I know many foreigners from 3rd world countries that came to the USA via fraudulent means and no matter which country, they face similar challenges and lie to save face.  Not only do they lie to their friends, but even their family back in their home countries.  They are promised the rainbow and success here in the USA and what happens?  They get here thinking their fellow country people will help them and of course they will, for money.  I personally interviewed many of these people and the truth is, once they are here, those who put up the cash want their money.  In addition, their family back home wants money, they have to find a place to live in the USA and all the expenses that come with it.

So what happens?  Many, not all, many end up living in lower income areas, poor schools, higher crime and struggle paycheck to paycheck just like 60% of the U.S. population.  Covering living expenses, sending money home, paying off their coyotes etc.  The employment?  Yes, they are taken advantage of because those in the know are fully aware of their visa status or lack there of and take full advantage of them by paying less than market and make them work 12 and 14 hours a day doing unskilled labor (e.g., restaurant, salon, landscaping, construction, maid, etc).  Yet, when they talk to their friends and family back home, yes, all is good, I have a great job, I am making 30K, 40k, 60k and living the USA dream, while the reality is they are not.  Pay attention to this case, according to the charges, more than half of them were in the USA illegally, which means they don't have work visas and can't get one unless it was obtained by fraud.  Which also means no social security, no healthcare and basically they have to work until they die.  Yes, when we discussed, I watched them cry to their reality.

Even the latest from this scandal, the ring leader of this VN gang issued death threats to those who owned money (i.e., obviously they were not making enough to pay, reality).  See this article by VNEXPRESS.   

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/50-in … 23277.html

Furthermore, we know people who own nail salons and the reality, the average income in our area is about 3k to 4k a month, which is basically enough to live paycheck to paycheck, if you are single.  Can some make more, yes, but they have to work all the time and in high season, but it is not consistent or easy.  For those in the larger cities like NY and LA, I would think they make more, but the cost of living is a hell of a lot more and the economics are the same.  I lived in NYC for a long time and making 60k puts you basically at the poverty level.   

People are entitled to their opinions, but based on the facts so far, the people involved in this scam most likely are not from rich families in VN.  Why would wealthy people who can get a visa go through all this trouble and take the risk when it is not necessary.  In addition, many of their kids will and are studying legally in the USA and have no need to pay 70k for a marriage visa when they are already in the USA, that is just stupid.  Again, I know some deans here in the USA that recruit these VN students and yes, their parents are rich and these kids get student visas and thus, they have no need to get involved in this illegal activity for a visa, that is just plain ignorant.  Based on my discussions with the deans, most students do fine, but there are always a few who want to stay, but cannot.  What do they do?  They overstay their student visas and disappear and most likely live with their extended family in Cali.  But then again, they are here illegally and the cycles starts. 

We can talk about these issues non stop, by my point in posting the thread was to bring attention to the issue, which is a worldwide issue, because many people come here for visa advice and it is sad that cases like this can make it even more difficult for those seeking visas from VN.  It is already difficult enough to get these types of Visas without having these scammers making matters worse.  At the end of the day, there is no win win as there are more losers than winners.

An additional problem for those in the USA illegally/undocumented (half the VN in the current scam) who marry a U.S. citizen, the road to the green card is difficult.  For example:

"If you have spent more than one year in the U.S. unlawfully, you'll need to spend ten years outside the United States before returning."

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us … tizen.html

This scam is not about getting people to pay lots of money that they will then have to pay back.
this scam seems to me mostly family members and relatives who are trying to get around the waiting period, cost and requirements, mainly the petitioner has to be a US Citizen, to get arelative into the USA in less than 8 years.

So this means, that once my wife would arrive int he US, she needs a minimum of 5 years to become a citizen. At that point, she could sponsor her mother or sister, etc,, which will then take another year or more.
By doing a fraudulent K-1 route, instead of waiting 6 or 7 years, it's one year.

Having just gone thru the K-1 route, this is why they ask like a million times if the person you intend to marry is a relative and if they have any relatives in the USA.

Now it screws it up for the rest of us, but when have the rich cared about that.

Also, I don't think enough people understand the cost of the cars we see driving in HCMC.
I see more luxury cars, those costing more than $100K in the USA, in HCMC than I see in New York, NY, that's Manhattan.
I've seen numerous Maybachs. That's a USD 150k car.

Now multiply that by the 300% VAT for foreign cars and you realize that there are a lot of quarter million cars running around in the land of the motorbike.

Other than the obvious dodgy website using a fake lawyer profile and clear intention to break the law, I can't comment directly on the people involved in this particular case, but I can tell you about the snakehead gangs that smuggle Chinese nationals to the UK.

I got to know many of the trafficked and, eventually, a few of the traffickers, and the deal wasn't that sweet for a lot of people.
The smuggling costs were high so took workers a very long time to pay back, always under threat of deportation and financial ruin, but it's the other side that was less than pleasant.
Girls unable to pay up, usually because they couldn't find work, had another choice, prostitution, and that was whether they liked the idea or not.

The gangs were known to be violent, ran brothels in the back streets where the cops had no clue how to enter, and a lot of other shady stuff.
Manchester is run by two gangs, one from Mainland, the other HK, both talking to each other in order to keep the peace. If one wants to open a business, they confer with the other in order to make sure everyone is happy - "Business" is defined as everything from a karaoke night to a sex ring.
I knew of girls being sent as far as Barnsley restaurants so the men could have group sex. The guys would line up naked, take their turn, then to the back of the queue if they fancied another go.
Very few outside the community see the violence and prostitution, so the cops just leave it alone unless it spills out, and that only happened once when I was working in that area - a badly cut body, loads of blood, but not a single person saw a thing.

To the topic - Whilst that explains some of what the Chinese gangs were up to in Manchester, it says little about the Vietnamese gang in America, - but it offers possibilities as to what else they might very well be up to but has yet to be discovered by the cops.

My advice to any Vietnamese interested in such a scheme - Don't.

Added - No I didn't take up the offer to join the queue - Not my cup of tea.

Jim-Minh
"The Dallas Viet nail technicians don't make anywhere near that kind of money.

Angie has 20 years experience, owned and sold her shop because of competition, and now works as an employee for a large franchise and makes about $35K.

She is very happy to have that. She was working 364/7/12 just to make ends meet."




Let me help Angie out. A simple search on Bao Nail (the go-to for anyone Viet in the nail business) and there are a dozen shops in the Dallas area looking for nail techs, paying $1000 or more (plus tips) a week and only working 6 days a week.

I've been in the nail business for over 15 years, in four different states. No Viet nail tech, working in a Viet owned shop, should ever be making $35k a year unless they are working part-time. Even a slow and inexperience tech will make at least $1300 (including tips) working 6 days a week (10 am - 7:30 pm).

THIGV :

I think you have the idea right but your numbers are a little high.  To net $60K/yr a nail technician working six days a week at ten hours a day (a 60 hour week) would need to make $20 every single hour of the year, which is $40/hr before commissions.  This is a pretty tall order even in the busiest of shops with the highest pricing structure.  As for "by the time they get their green card," they get a temporary green card on arrival as they are married.  A permanent green card comes in two years.  As far as government programs, this is a common anti-immigration trope.  If they ever hope to become a US citizen, they will need to avoid these programs like they were poison because accepting means tested aid blocks one from naturalization.  Now if "Auntie" is the owner of the shop, she has an added motive to bring her niece as she makes money off of her US labor even if she never asks the immigrant for repayment.  This is why most of these fees are actually paid by Vietnamese relatives in the US on behalf of the immigrant.  I really feel that most of these people are driven to pay for their relatives out of a sincere desire for reunification and not to seek repayment from them.  It is also why the discussion of average wages in Vietnam is somewhat irrelevant as the fees are being mostly paid for from the US side.  In fact if you examine the wage/living cost ratio, living in Vietnam may be preferable, particularly for those with skills.  An engineer working in the kitchen of a Viet restaurant in  Dallas is arguably not better off than if he had stayed in Vietnam.
.

They do make that much money, I see it every day. As far as the 2 years to get the green card, that is correct. This is how they are able to pay back such a large sum. They come with nothing, work under the table (usually at a lower percentage) and pay the money as they go. This way the person who brings them has an incentive not to divorce and keep up appearances until the immigrant is "legal". When I was speaking of government help, I meant after they are legal to work. I'd say 60% or more nail techs are in some kind of government assistance. You're right in that it usually isn't only about the money but to help family and also have a reliable worker.

The link below provides information from a local news source in Houston.  Based on the article, this what we know:

1. 96 people indicted
2. half were VN illegally in the United States
3. The other half are U.S. citizens that were going to marry the illegal VN fiances
4. 206 indictments, which is sealed by the Court and thus, we are not going to get a lot until this case gets to trial or the indictments are unsealed.
5. Because a person residing illegally in the USA generally cannot marry a U.S. citizen and stay in the USA, the leaders of this scam were using forged tax documents, employment records, utility bills etc. to falsify their real status.

Once the DOJ is finished with them, the IRS will be next.  This happens all the time and yes, I worked for 2 Federal Judges and 1 was at the U.S. Tax Court.  The IRS is always informed of these cases and just because you obtain money illegally, you do not get out of the tax consequences.  Once they are found guilty in Federal Court for their crimes, it makes it all to easy for the IRS to bring tax charges.

I am sure some are wondering, how does an illegal alien get legal status in the USA?  They steal someones identity that is legally in the USA (e.g., social security #) and the USCIS, IRS etc. are none the wiser.  Yes, I know illegal aliens who have done this and lived and worked in the USA for decades.

https://www.khou.com/article/news/crime … 2a8fa6988f

And when the dust settles, the screws are going to be turned a lot tighter for anyone hoping for a Visa .

Donald said   “we’re full”. 🤓

100% real news. My Vietnamese wife alerted me to it via her Vietnam news daily updates. I know first hand that Vietnam is a categorized as a “high fraud” country for arranged “fake” marriages for applying to get the K1 Visa. I am white and I petitioned my fiancé at the time for the K1 Visa and went through heck and then some. I attended her Visa interview where they grilled her on a lot of things. There were about 100 interviews that day and I and 1 other guy were the only white guys there. It was mainly Viet Kieu petitioning Viet fiancés.

My wife had told me a story about her former co worker who was working with a Vietnamese lawyer in Vietnam to arrange a fake marriage with a gay guy Viet Kieu in the US. Her family was going to pay him 50k. It didn’t work out for her because the guy didn’t want to upset his boyfriend and travel to Vietnam constantly to make it happen. I was surprised at the level of rising wealth in Vietnam but people are opening more and more businesses in Saigon. A lot of wealth is being made by flipping land in and around Saigon. Also a lot more people are buying cars and my wife’s brother in law bought a 7 seat Toyota SUV in Vietnam for about 70kUSD that would have cost me about 38k USD. I asked how he was able to buy this since he was a truck driver and turns out his mother owned some land that a Chinese company wanted to develop and made her a nice offer. If you havent noticed lately, there are a lot of tall buildings going up all around in Saigon and the property they are built on are from families selling out who have owned that land for years

Anyhow , It was not easy getting for my wife to get the K1 Visa and we are married now and have children but was very surprised how difficult it was to get approved. They gave us a blue slip (denial) on our first visit and gave us conditions to help prove even more than all the evidence we provided including the 3 different times I had visited AND stayed for 5 months.

But I am not surprised that people were caught in some type of scam. Lying to the federal government in this fashion I think comes with a hefty jail sentence.

Texan71 :

100% real news

When I did get married in Saigon in 2012 (divorced since then!) we used a lady's help to go through the paperwork and there was a Canadian-Vietnamese man going though a fake marriage at the office. They were paying USD$500 I think to a family in the countryside to go at their wedding, replace the giant photo with theirs, take a few shots, and voilà, fake marriage photos done. The Canadian government is aware of this type of fraud and that's why marriages between Vietnamese are much more suspicious and more scrutinised by the authorities. I heard the ongoing price was about USD50K.

I'd say that 75% of the Vietnamese population are on the poor side and could never afford this. Maybe now "middle class" is about 20% of the population, and could possibly afford this with the help of family members and so on. The 5% of the population are super rich and can easily send their kids study abroad and buy new cars even with a 100% import tax.

Don't forget one thing: a "poor" family and "poor" woman doesn't need USD$50K to try to get oversea. All you need is an internet connection and some good photos, you go on a dating site and you try to "hook" a foreigner. Chances are slim but higher odds than lottery. Some of them are even looking for real love, and some are not.

vndreamer :

To my surprise, I did some research and some sources actually say the average salary is less than $300 a month.  For example, this study was done last year and they state the average salary per person in VN is 3.2 million dong ($150).  Of course there are professionals who make a lot more and the article does provide information about those salaries as well.  You have to keep in mind that there has to be millions of people making less than 3.2 million to get the average that low. 

https://www.vietnamonline.com/az/average-salary.html

But then there is another analysis from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, which shows that my estimate was closer to this analysis of just under 6 million monthly:

https://tradingeconomics.com/vietnam/wages

I was discussing this with a friend in Vietnam last week and the problem here is that lots of cash in Vietnam is being handled off-book. It's very hard to know exactly what's the average income in a society where cash is still king. You can make some calculations with GDP and export/import data but it's very approximate. Also, average is being skewed by the super rich. I'd say using median income would give a better idea. But yeah I would not be surprised if 50% of the population are in the 5-6 millions range. It's very hard to guess, when I'm in Rach Gia you get these large areas with very poor people but then you get in the centre and have dozens of new cars going around. Also, Rach Gia has a big population of people with links to oversea Vietnamese, since it was one of the main "escape" route at the end of the war. Income from oversea family is not calculated in the average income calculations, and it amounts to a LOT of money being injected in the local economy.

WillyBaldy :

I would not be surprised if 50% of the population are in the 5-6 millions range.
It's very hard to guess, when I'm in Rach Gia you get these large areas with very poor people but then you get in the centre and have dozens of new cars going around.

We just got home from a gettogether-for-dessert with family, friends, and relatives -- locals, expats, and visitors from the States.  At one point, one of the visitors asked one of the locals about his retirement income.  Before he had time to answer, his wife said,  "His salary was 16M, now in retirement, it's only about 7M.  That's what he receives from the government.  I don't know about his income from other sources."

A pregnant pause followed her announcement, then her husband changed the subject by asking if we knew about the 4 incredible Vietnamese women:  Ms. Giao Phan, the Executive Director in charge of the overhaul of the USS Gerald Ford;  Lt. Colonel Elizabeth Pham of the US Marine Corp, the first woman who flew the F18 as a captain pilot;  Dr Luu Le Hang, the astronomer who discovered the Kuiper Belt;  and Nguyet Anh Duong, the scientist who created the Thermobaric weapon that helped end the Afghanistan War.

Good save, as 2/3 of our group were women. 

From the tidbits I gathered from conversations, I think your estimation of 50% of the population is a bit high.  But then again, I only know people who live, worked, and work in Hanoi, Saigon, and VT while your acquaintances are in Rach Gia.  The difference could be due to the locations. 

My niece who retired last year in Hanoi receives 6M for her retirement income, meaning her salary was quite a bit higher than that.  The sidewalk sweeper on my block makes more than 6M.  I don't know my ENT doctor's retirement income, but he currently owns 4 buildings that he rents out, pays university tuition, rent, and living expenses for 2 children in the States, pays spousal support to his first wife, and maintains a very comfortable living with his second wife.  My nephew and his wife travel twice yearly to Europe, Canada, and Australia, 2.5 months at a time, in addition to paying tuition and living expenses to their daughter in Canada, so his retirement income must be very high.

GDP means nothing in Vietnam.  As you said, it's impossible to know the real numbers when most people do not report their income nor do they pay their taxes.

Ciambella :

But then again, I only know people who live, worked, and work in Hanoi, Saigon, and VT while your acquaintances are in Rach Gia.  The difference could be due to the locations.

Definitely. My experience is skewed on the upside, Rach Gia is a "rich" city. You don't need to go far from there, for example Bac Lieu, to notice a big difference already. So yeah my estimate of 50% making 5-6 millions is quite possibly high. Also, since appearance is so important in Vietnam, seeing full Starbucks and Highland Coffee in Saigon also doesn't mean that people are rich. It could simply mean that they were willing to save for a week to be able to order a USD$5 coffee and sit at a table for 6 hours with one coffee and take selfies to look cool.

Ate at an amazing sushi restaurant in Saigon last Friday. It costs around USD$60 for two. Brought my girlfriend for some shopping at Zara in Vincom Center, cost me USD$100. So much for "cheap" Vietnam  :lol: Just kidding though, I definitely didn't pick the cheapest places.

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