About Us

Country profile - Vietnam

​​​Vietnam has experienced rapid economic growth since the 1990s, as it made the transition from agrarian to industry-based activities and from a centrally planned to a market-based, export focussed economy. Vietnam is classified as a low middle-income country based on its gross domestic product per capita, with the average Vietnamese having an income one-eighth of the average Australian, on a purchasing power parity basis.

Given this, economic opportunity is a significant driver for Vietnamese emigrants who may seek to increase their personal and family income in countries such as Australia. Australia is the second most common destination for Vietnamese migrants. Today, the Vietnam-born represent the sixth-largest migrant community in Australia. Vietnam's economic transformation has resulted in increased demand for education and training services and it ranks third as a source of Australia's international student cohort.​


At the end of June 2014, 22​3,180 Vietnam-born people were living in Australia, 20 per cent more than at 30 June 2006. This is equivalent to 3.4 per cent of Australia's overseas-born population and 1.0 per cent of Australia's total population.

For Australia's Vietnam-born migrants:

  • The median age of 44.5 years was 7.2 years above that of the general Australian population.
  • Females outnumbered males—53 per cent compared with 47 per cent.

Permanent migration

Australia's permanent Migration Programme incorporates economic and family reunion migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence. The only other way for migrants to obtain permanent residence is to be accepted into Australia on humanitarian grounds.  The Migration Programme is based on non-discriminatory principles relating to nationality, gender and religion. People who meet the criteria set out in the Migration Act 1958 can apply to migrate.

Permanent migration refers to the number of outcomes in any given year, without taking into account whether the visa recipient actually arrived and settled in Australia.  Skilled migration focuses on facilitating the permanent entry of those who can make a positive contribution to Australia through their skills, qualifications, entrepreneurial spirit and employment potential.  Family migration facilitates the entry of close family members of Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens. The programme is currently dominated by partners and dependent children, but also provides options for other family members, such as Carers, Parents and Aged Dependent Relatives.

The following table shows the size and composition of the skilled and family migration categories from 2011–12 to 2014–15.​

Migration category2011–122012–132013–142014–15​Per cent change
on previous year
Per cent change
for the period
Skilled migration (points tested)
Skilled Regional19413013496-28.4-50.5
Skilled Independent324336549542-1.367.3
State/Territory Nominated787620437181.9375.6
Skilled migration (non-points tested)
Business Innovation and Investment7915013016728.5111.4
Distinguished Talent < 5 < 5 < 5 < 50.00.0
Employer Sponsored392898494441-10.712.5
Total: Skilled visa grants 1,068 1,592 1,512 1,618 7.0 51.5
Skilled visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)22.429.829.131.7n/an/a
Family migration
Other Family2463651091090.0-55.7
Total: Family visa grants 3,685 3,716 3,683 3,468 -5.8 -5.9
Family visas as a proportion of all permanent visas (%)77.269.670.868.0n/an/a
Special Eligibility
Special Eligibility2031 < 514250.0-30.0
Total: Permanent migrants 4,773 5,339 5,199 5,100 -1.9 6.9

Temporary migration

Depending on the purpose and duration of their visit, people can come to Australia on a Visitor visa, or through an other appropriate temporary visa. Temporary visas are designed for specific purposes, for example, study, working holidays or other specialist activities. Temporary residents are required to pay taxes on income earned in Australia and do not normally have access to public welfare and might not have access to public health programmes.

The Student visa programme consists of a range of visa categories that broadly correspond to education sectors. Students must study with an education provider and in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. The subclass 457 visa programme allows Australian employers to sponsor foreign workers for employment in management, professional, technical and skilled trades’ positions. The programme is demand-driven and highly responsive to Australian labour market conditions. Visitor visas are mostly used by people visiting Australia for holidays, recreation, or to see family and friends. People may also use Visitor visas for certain short-term business activities.

The following table shows the size and composition of the Student visa programme, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and Visitors from Vietnam.

Permanent visa stream/category2011–122012–132013–142014–15Per cent change
on previous year
Per cent change
for the period
International Students
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students15712411683-28.4-47.1
Vocational Education and Training9258691,098913-16.8-1.3
Higher Education5,1707,8499,2117,240-21.440.0
Postgraduate Research5524235936367.315.2
Foreign Affairs or Defence688649684661-3.4-3.9
Total: International Student visa grants 8,161 10,725 12,495 10,283 -17.7 26.0
Temporary Work
(Skilled) visa
(subclass 457)
Business visitor9,0018,8517,6378,67413.6-3.6
Medical Treatment677166729.17.5
Total: Visitor visa grants 26,264 30,252 32,480 40,052 23.3 52.5

Main occupations

There are a wide variety of occupations that potential migrants can nominate for, which are acceptable for permanent and temporary skilled migration to Australia. The following table shows the main occupations for Vietnamese nationals for Points Tested Skilled Migration outcomes and Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) grants.

PeriodTemporary Work
(Skilled) visa
(subclass 457)
No. of migrantsPoints Tested Skilled Migration No. of migrants
 Skilled meat workers60Accountants205
 Cafe and restaurant managers44Software and applications programmers68
 Cooks40Registered nurses43
 Accountants38Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers41
 University lecturers and tutors26Civil engineering professionals16
 Bakers and pastrycooks25ICT business and systems analysts16
 Retail managers21Computer network professionals12
 Advertising and marketing professionals18University lecturers and tutors12
 Software and applications programmers11Industrial, mechanical and production engineers11
 Ministers of religion9Other engineering professionals9
 Cafe and restaurant managers37Software and applications programmers55
 University lecturers and tutors27Registered nurses29
 Skilled meat workers21Hairdressers20
 Retail managers21Civil engineering professionals16
 Software and applications programmers21Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers11
 Bakers and pastrycooks20Computer network professionals11
 Advertising and marketing professionals15Secondary school teachers11
 Massage therapists12Architects and landscape architects9
 Skilled meat workers175Accountants111
 Cafe and restaurant managers33Cooks42
 Accountants31Software and applications programmers41
 University lecturers and tutors27Pharmacists16
 Bakers and pastrycooks21Registered nurses12
 Software and applications programmers14Bakers and pastrycooks8
 Advertising and marketing professionals13Other engineering professionals7
 Contract, program and project administrators11Other information and organisation professionals7
 Ministers of religion10Civil engineering professionals6
 University lecturers and tutors25Accountants125
 Bakers and pastrycooks20Software and applications programmers75
 Cooks18ICT business and systems analysts20
 Ministers of religion13Hairdressers8
 Contract, program and project administrators13Industrial, mechanical and production engineers8
 Cafe and restaurant managers11Registered nurses8
 Advertising and marketing professionals11Chemists, and food and wine scientists7
 Software and applications programmers10Civil engineering professionals7
 Crop farmers9Other engineering professionals6

Geographic distribution

The following table shows the geographic distribution of migrants, based on permanent additions, international students, Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and permanent departures.

Permanent additions are the sum of those granted a permanent residency visa while in Australia, and those granted a visa through an Australian mission abroad, who have entered Australia during the respective reporting period.

Population (%)NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
Proportion of all persons counted in the Census – 2011 (%)322520710212
Proportion of Vietnam-born counted in the Census – 2011 (%)3937967002
Permanent additions - 2014–15 (%)
Skill stream (primary)294010135021
Skill stream (dependent)27456135121
Family stream3937957012
Temporary entrants - 2014–15 (%)
International students33421057102
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) (primary)372813414022
Permanent departures (%)
All Vietnam-born permanent residents5425837002

Country ranking​

This table uses rankings to show the significance of Vietnamese migration for the past four financial years.

Ranked position of migrants2011–122012–132013–142014–15
Population in Australia5556
Points Tested Skilled Migration18201514
Employer Sponsored17101617
Total Skill stream19151515
Total Family stream5555
International students9447
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)25181918