Better incentives needed to attract Vietnamese talents to return to homeland: official

April 12, 2021 - 09:38
Lương Thanh Nghị, deputy head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs talks to Báo điện tử Chính phủ (Online newspaper of the Government) about the policies to attract young Vietnamese talents abroad.


Delegates attending the Global Young Vietnamese Intellectual Forum in 2019 in Hà Nội. — Photo

Lương Thanh Nghị, deputy head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs talks to Báo điện tử Chính phủ (Online newspaper of the Government) about the policies to attract young Vietnamese talents abroad. 

How do you view the quality and prospects of Vietnamese people abroad?

About 5.3 million Vietnamese people are living and studying in more than 130 countries and territories all over the world with about 80 per cent of them in developed countries.

Among them, between 500,000 and 600,000 hold at least a bachelor degree.

There are thousands of skilled Vietnamese engineers and developers working for Silicon Valley’s leading corporations including Google, Facebook and Microsoft. They have made many contributions in fields such as science and technology, economy, politics and culture for their host countries.

This is a great source of high quality human resources for Việt Nam who can make significant contributions to the country’s development in the context that the country is accelerating the modernisation and industrialisation process.

Could you share more about talent attraction policies being implemented?

Việt Nam has had policies to tap the potential of Vietnamese people abroad for long.

In 2018, the Ministry of Planning and Investment cooperated with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education and Training, the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs to establish a network of young Vietnamese experts and scientists all over the world so they can make further contributions.

In October 2019, the Government issued a decree to establish the national innovation and creativity centre with preferential mechanisms, aiming to create a favourable academic and working environment for intellectuals to contribute to the country’s science and technology sectors.

In March 2020, the Government issued a decree to attract Vietnamese citizens working in science technology field abroad and bring foreign people working in this field to Việt Nam. This decree specifies favourable policies to encourage them to return to the country.

Recently the Government ordered relevant agencies to work on a national strategy to attract talents in Việt Nam and overseas with better policies including wages, the benefit to access to different sources of information of ministries, departments and localities, support from the State to organise and participate in forums and conferences.

In recent years, about 500 experts return to the country annually or have regular collaboration with local research institutes, universities both in public and private sectors. They have made many contributions to the country. In the Economic Advisory Group to the Prime Minister, we have acknowledged experts including Associate Prof. Dr. Trần Ngọc Anh, lecturer at Havard University and Indiana University, Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Đức Khương, Deputy Director for Research at IPAG Business School, France, Associate Prof. Dr. Vũ Minh Khương, lecturer of the National University of Singapore, Prof. Dr. Trần Văn Thọ, lecturer of Waseda University, Japan. Other acknowledged experts who have returned include CEOs Vũ Xuân Sơn and Lê Diệp Kiều Trang, or former staff of Google Nguyễn Thành Nhân.

Since 2018, we have held three forums for young Vietnamese scientists abroad. Participants offered proposals and ideas that are essential for the development of Việt Nam.

In October 2020 we had a conference for Vietnamese overseas to contribute their ideas about digital transformation and ways to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic to develop the economy. We have compiled their proposals and initiatives and reported to the Prime Minister and relevant agencies so these can be studied and implemented.

In the future, the Committee will cooperate with relevant agencies to establish a network of Vietnamese talents all over the world.

What are advantages and difficulties when these policies are implemented? What are the proposals to make these policies effective in attracting Vietnamese talent to contribute to the development of the country?

We have gained certain results through these policies. Networks and associations of Vietnamese intellectuals and experts have been launched in many developed countries and they have closely collaborated with organisations in Việt Nam.

The Association of Vietnamese Scientists and Experts Global based in France has about 1,000 members working in many fields. The Việt Nam Initiative in the US is affiliated with about 40 research institutes and universities all over the world. They have many cooperation and collaboration activities with the country through policy consultancy, idea contribution.

HCM City has done a good job in attracting talent. Currently there is a network of young talents who are collaborating with the departments and agencies of the city. The experts have also invested in many projects including the 3D Printing technology by Arevo company of Vũ Xuân Sơn and Lê Diệp Kiều Trang.

However, there are some limitations in these policies. There is lack of consistency in policies among ministries and localities. Some localities have not paid enough attention to attracting talent to work. The access to information is still limited and while there is also lack of close cooperation among scientists, many ideas are not well received.

Secondly, although we have many policies they are not strong enough to encourage Vietnamese experts to return to the country. They include limited benefits for their families, and the fact that the academic environment still lacks professionalism. We hope that innovative policies can help to overcome these obstacles.

From another perspective, they don’t necessarily return to be able to contribute to the country. Many are living and working in host countries but still making significant contributions to Việt Nam. Developed countries offer better environment for scientific research, creativity and development especially in such fields as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, digital transformation and digital economy. — VNS