IOM first began operations in Vietnam in 1987 and currently operates under a cooperation agreement with the government of Vietnam. IOM's Mission in Vietnam is located in Hanoi and IOM maintains a sub-office in Ho Chi Minh City. IOM Vietnam has well-trained and experienced staff dedicated to assisting the government and the people of Vietnam in the field of migration.

Historical Highlights of IOM in Vietnam

Vietnam becomes a member state of the IOM 

  • 1989 - IOM established an office in Ho Chi Minh City to work closely with UNHCR and the Department of External Relations (previously known as the External Relations Office), part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), on the implementation of the Orderly Departures Programme (ODP) to provide medical examinations and arrange travel for migrants.
  • 1990 - IOM responded to a request from the Government and arranged for the evacuation of some 14,000 Vietnamese workers from Iraq before the Gulf War began.
  • 1991 - IOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the SRV establishing an official relationship. IOM opened its Mission in Hanoi and officially took over the ODP from UNHCR.
  • 1993 - In cooperation with VINACONEX and LOD - two leading labour export companies, IOM provided English training courses to migrant workers prior to their placement overseas.
  • 1996 - The Organization began implementation of a project to provide "Return and Reintegration Assistance to Trafficked Returnees" in cooperation with the Women's Union of Lang Son province.
  • 1997 - In cooperation with the central Vietnam Women's union IOM organized seminars on prevention of trafficking in women and children in the north and south. These seminars are the first of their kind in Vietnam.
  • 1998 - The Organization implemented a pilot "National Anti-Trafficking Information Campaign" with the Vietnam Women's Union in 8 provinces and cities.
  • 2000 - IOM and the central VWU implemented a National Anti-Trafficking information Campaign in selected provinces and cities of Vietnam. The campaign raised the public's awareness about the danger of trafficking. IOM began its participation in the organizations multi-year regional programme for the Return and Reintegration Assistance to Trafficking Victims in countries of the Mekong Sub-Region. The Organization launched its visa application assistance service to help Vietnamese wishing to emigrate to Canada.
  • 2002 - With IOM assistance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs performed the role of secretariat for the Inter-governmental Asia-Pacific Consultations on Refugees. Displaced Persons and Migrants. Vietnam hosted the 7th APC Plenary Meeting.
  • 2004 - IOM provided assistance to the VWU with capacity building in the prevention of trafficking in women and children, and to the Little Rose Shelter in Ho Chi Minh City with the reintegration of trafficked and vulnerable children.
  • 2005 - Under the arrangement with the Australian Government, IOM began providing visa application assistance to people wishing to visit or migrate to Australia.
  • 2006 - IOM supported the Government of Viet Nam in implementing the Bilateral Agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and The Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on cooperation to Eliminate Trafficking in Women and Children and Assist Victims of Trafficking, which was signed in October 10, 2005.
  • 2007 - IOM completed a study to improve the understanding of the violence situation against female migrant workers in Viet Nam and to provide accurate information about migrant women’s perceptions, experiences and responses to gender-based violence that can be used to support advocacy efforts through policy and programme development.
  • 2008 - The An Giang Province Assessment Centre was completed in July with the technical support of IOM and the financial support of the U.S. Department of State’s Population, Refugees and Migration Division.
  • 2009 - The Assessment Centre in Lao Cai for trafficked returnees began providing support for Victims of Trafficking.  Support included counseling, psychosocial support, life-skills education, vocational training, job placement, support for sustainable livelihood/production, HIV prevention, health care, legal aid, and return and reintegration support.
  • 2010 - The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Nguyen Thanh Son, and IOM Director General William Lacy Swing signed a new cooperation agreement cementing ties between the Southeast Asian nation and the migration agency. The new agreement puts the close cooperation between Viet Nam and IOM on a new, stronger basis, and offers new opportunities for enhanced cooperation to meet Vietnam's migration challenges.
  • 2011 - The An Giang Province Assessment Centre continued it's important work with IOM's technical support and the financial support from the State of Kuwait.
  • 2011 - During the Libyan Crisis, IOM assisted Viet Nam in the country's rapid and successful reaction to repatriate 10,500 Vietnamese labour migrants from Libya.
  • 2012 - IOM supported the Government of Viet Nam/Ministry of Foreign Affairs to successfully conduct and publish the first migration profile of Viet Nam – “Overview of Vietnamese Migration Abroad”. In cooperation with the Department for Overseas Labour of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) the first Migrant Resource Center (MRC) opens in Hanoi, and cooperation on the return and reintegration of victims of trafficking was intensified. In cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), joint efforts to fight human trafficking as well as smuggling in migrants were strengthened. In 2012 IOM also fully joined the UN “Delivery As One” approach in Viet Nam.
  • 2013 - In cooperation with the Immigration Department of MPS, IOM organized the first regional anti-human smuggling workshop in Hanoi. A large gender and migration project is implemented in Dong Thap province in cooperation with ADB and  Vietnamese counterparts, including the Vietnamese Women's Union.
  • 2014 – In cooperation with the Immigration Department/MPS and the National Border Guards Command, IOM organized a policy workshop on effective management of Viet Nam’s increasingly diverse regular and irregular migrant flows and a series of training of trainers (ToT) on prevention and detection of trafficking and people smuggling. With cooperation of the Border Guards and provincial Vietnam Women’s Union, a communication campaign to deter potential irregular migration from Viet Nam to Australia was undertaken in 3 target provinces including Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Vung Tau. IOM also co-funded a research study on migrants’ vulnerability to malaria to understand the migration and epidemiology of artemisnin-resistant malaria in Binh Phuoc province of Viet Nam. IOM implemented a research component of its global policy and research project on “Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy” (MECLEP), consisting of climate adaptation policy assessment and empirical study of the linkage between migration and climate change.
  • 2015 - IOM cooperated closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Consular Department (MoFA/CD) to implement a project to promote development-friendly migration policies in Viet Nam. In cooperation with the National Border Guards, IOM organized a workshop to promote discussion and information sharing between Vietnamese partners, international experts and foreign government partners to enhance the effectiveness of operational responses to combat people smuggling syndicates. IOM, in collaboration with the Consular Department of MOFA organized a regional workshop on migrants in times of crisis in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and Malaysia. IOM reinforced its efforts in the prevention and protection areas of human trafficking in the targeted special economic zones and economic corridors mainly in Tay Ninh and Quang Tri provinces. IOM provided humanitarian assistance for the safe humanitarian return of a total of 111 Vietnamese fishermen from the Federated States of Micronesia and 1 from Papua New Guinea.