Numerous Vietnamese migrated to England and most of them residing in the North of England are people from the Central region from Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, and Thanh Hoa.
They come to England mainly to work in nail salons, as chefs, as restaurant cooks, and as waitresses. Others engage in illegal occupations such as cultivating cannabis for others.
In an interview with BBC News Vietnamese from a studio in London on 11/11/2021, British-Vietnamese writer Huong Keenleyside said that she had written about migrants so she understood them well as well as the reasons for Vietnamese people to come to the UK.
The reason why Vietnamese people immigrate to the UK
The first reason, according to writer Huong Keenleyside, now living in Cumbria, in the North West of England, is the difference in income earned in the UK compared to Vietnam.
“Central Vietnam people are very united, they come here to do nails, hairdressing, cooking, waitressing, hotel service, they earn more than farmers earn in Vietnam. so they come and then they invite each other, they call back to Vietnam to invite their brothers and sisters to come to work together, hoping to earn more.”
The second is losing land, losing jobs, forcing them to leave. The female writer shared with the BBC:
“Some people I talked to, they confided like this. They said that they did not intend to go abroad but that their district authorities confiscated their land and sold it for house building. The compensation for their land was very cheap.
In addition, religious migration and lack of vocational training for young people are also the main causes.
“As in 54, the North migrated to the South. Now because of religious reasons, such as our country is a socialist country and the people are more Buddhist than Christian followers. When they feel lost, they go to the country of [mostly] Christians,” says writer Huong Keenleyside.
“Most of the people who came here, I see that they are all from farming families, all of them are in grade 5, grade 6, 7, 8, 9 and are all very young, almost under 30 years old… Not anyone who is young can go to university, so if they don’t have a vocational school, they will die. If they don’t have a job and no career guidance, they have to think that they have to go,” the female writer added.
Willing to trade life to go
According to writer Huong Keenleyside, the path Vietnamese people to England must pass through many countries before they are brought to Britain, and there are dangers lurking along the way.
“They crossed the border in such a way that it was very dangerous to go to Russia and walk in a snowstorm from Russia to Poland, then from Poland to France, and then to go undercover to England.”
“They are willing to give their lives to go because in Vietnam they will die of starvation anyway and if they get sick they can’t be cured. Then they will still die. That’s what they think, not what I think. ”
“All of them, I’ve talked to, they don’t want to go, but it’s because of their lack of food that they have to go.”
What should the Vietnamese government do to stop the flow of migrants?
According to Ms. Huong Keenleyside, the solution to prevent the flow of Vietnamese migrants abroad must come from high levels in the Vietnamese state apparatus and need long-term policies for the poor.
“This is the government, the foreign ministry and then the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs must cooperate if I think they must have a clear plan and project to help the poor people in the central provinces to have full jobs.”
“If the Vietnamese government’s direction is to build a better life and better income for Vietnamese people and young people, there’s no way they’ll go anywhere.”
“If there are not enough jobs to earn the minimum wage so that they can eat and not starve, the Vietnamese government must answer that to stop the migration wave. Their lives here, nearly 50,000 people in the North of England, will say ‘I come here to earn enough to eat three meals a day and save money, and surely others will follow them.”