LEWI Research

Work and Family Life among Migrant Factory Workers in China and Vietnam  

Dr Kaxton SIU
Through on-site interviewing, a comparative study has been carried out about migrant factory workers in industrialised parts of China’s Guangdong province and in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. Even though China and Vietnam possess similar legacies of socialist transformation and have household registration regulations that restrict rural migrants’ access to urban social services and impede their settlement in cities, there exist marked differences in Guangdong and Ho Chi Minh City in migration patterns, factory work conditions and migrant worker family livelihoods. In particular, migrant families in Ho Chi Minh City largely stay intact and tend to settle there permanently, while married migrant workers in Guangdong normally need to split up their families and remain trapped in circular rural–urban migration. As shall be seen, the national and local governments play important roles in determining the inclusion or exclusion of migrants from urban life, the wages they are paid and their standard of living and, most important of all, their children’s access to education. Each of the two countries’ differences in implementing policies is examined and comparatively analysed. 

Hong Kong Polytechnic University research funding




Urban Residents' Average Wages in Ho Chi Minh City and Migrant Workers' Legal Minimum Wages (adjusted for cummulative inflation), 1995-2018


Urban Residents' Average Wages and Migrant Workers' Legal Minimum Wages (adjusted for cumulative inflation) in Outer Shenzhen City, 1993-2018