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Vietnamese brides who move abroad may struggle to fit in

Viet Nam News - July 2, 2011. "Vietnamese brides who set off to live with husbands from Taiwan and South Korea may face difficulties they are not aware of, according to experts at a workshop on trans-national marriage migration by Vietnamese women to East Asia."

"Participants at the workshop, held in Ha Noi yesterday, heard that although Vietnamese brides to Taiwan and South Korea often married on their own accord, they may suffer from domestic conflicts in an attempt to meet their husbands' and in-laws' expectations.

According to a report published in 2010 by Daniele Belanger, Taiwanese and Korean husbands and in-laws of Vietnamese brides, most of whose marriages are set up by match-making agencies, often expect the women to rapidly produce a child and to devote themselves to household tasks.

As a result, Vietnamese women become pregnant quickly within 6 months of their arrival in Taiwan - a statistic revealed in a report produced earlier this year by Canadian and Taiwanese researchers.

In many cases, the brides are also expected to take care for their husband's elderly parents and discouraged from working outside the home and engaging in social networks.

These expectations, when not met, may lead to domestic conflicts or even violence.

In addition to the pressure to meet their husbands' hopes, Vietnamese brides face a lot of difficulties due to language barriers, an unfamiliar culture and the age difference between husbands and wives.

According to Belanger, in South Korea, on average Vietnamese brides are 17 years younger than their husbands.

Despite the difficulties and overwhelmingly negative coverage of the country's media on marriage migration to East Asia, the number of marriages of Vietnamese women to Taiwanese and Korean men remains consistently high in recent years.

Belanger's report shows that in the two countries, Vietnamese women constitute the second largest group of foreign brides, behind China.

"Economic motive plays an important role in a Vietnamese bride's decision to marry a foreigner," said Le Bach Duong, director of the Institute for Social Development Studies.

Belanger said in her report that Vietnamese brides usually had a dual objective, which was to marry and to migrate.

Most of them hope that by migrating, they will be able to provide financial assistance to their families and improve their own lives.

According to a 2007 survey of 250 Vietnamese migrant-sending households with a daughter in an Asian country as a foreign wife, over 90 per cent of the parents believed their daughter's decision to marry a foreigner was motivated by a desire to help the families.

The survey reveals that 90 per cent of the brides had sent remittances to their families of origin in the 12 months preceding the survey and through such remittances, both in cash and in kind, they made substantial financial contributions to their families.

It also shows that women who have at least one child, who are more educated, who are abroad for a longer duration and who are more proficient in the husband's language are more likely to send money home." (VNS)


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