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Kitchen helper, welder and pizza maker - meeting Vietnamese guest workers

They came from Vietnam and work for Hungarian employers in a manufacturing company and restaurant. Why did they come to Hungary? How are they feeling? What are their plans? In Budapest, I visited an office on Kőbányai street, where the young Vietnamese were already waiting.



The location is the area of the Józsefváros Chinese market. On Thursday morning, there is not much bustle at the shops, and the vendors were not rushed by the interested parties. After a few turns, I find myself in a pleasant office on the first floor of a building, where a huge painting of the Freedom Bridge can be seen on the wall, and the parliament building can be seen in the meeting room. The three young Vietnamese guest workers who came to their Hungarian employers through the certified rental company Get Work Trend are already waiting. The partner of the rental company, who today acts as an interpreter, helped in finding them and in mediating them.


I'll start with a current question: how typical are the cases that have been reported in the press, according to which the Vietnamese who land on Ferihegy "disappear". The recruiter said that, unfortunately, such stories do happen, so he only recruits from the outside circle of acquaintances of Vietnamese living in Hungary or by recommendation. Those who arrive in this way are very likely to stay with their employer, as the example of these three employees shows.


In the meeting room, Quynh, sitting in the middle, greets me with a broad smile who works as a kitchen assistant in a cafe-restaurant in downtown Pest. On the left is Thoa, a welder at a manufacturing company in Székesfehérvár, and on the right is Vu, a cook in a pizza chain. Quynh and Thoa arrived a year ago, Vu has been working here for a year and a half.


Hungarian wages are twice as high


Why are you applying for Hungary? - I ask. The young people said that inland job opportunities are scarce. Many South Korean companies walked out from the country and the job market is feeling this. The other reason is the higher wages and the support of the family members who stayed at home from the savings. Here, they earn twice as much as in Vietnam, and their employer also pays for housing and two meals a day.


Being a guest worker is no stranger to Thoa. He already worked in South Korea for two years, but his permit expired, so he returned to his country and looked for new opportunities. His wife also came with him as a guest worker, but they could not bring their three-year-old child, who is now being raised by his grandmother in Vietnam. For Quynh, being able to start an independent life was a motivation. She said that in Vietnam children live with their families until marriage, they only move or can move as married. At the age of 20, he stood on his own two feet in Budapest and enjoys it.



Wu, Quynh, Thoa (b-j)


Although the three young people speak neither Hungarian nor English (although Quynh partially understands the latter), they can nevertheless make themselves understood in the workplace. The Vietnamese working there, body language and the Google translation program help with this. However, some Hungarian words come up when I ask them to demonstrate their knowledge. Quynh mentions the words sorry, yes, I know, small, plate, fork, spoon, hi, what are you doing. Thank you, it works well, there is a problem, turns jump in. Thoa, who works as a welder, frequently hears the names of parts and the word overtime. He often asks his boss when he can work overtime... Thoa said about his work in Hungary that he learned in a single day, which is more relaxed than what he was used to in Vietnam. Here there are breaks between work, there you had to drive 10 hours a day without stopping. Vu said that he started from scratch a year and a half ago as a black sink, and since then he has progressed and he is now making pizzas.


Their strength is hard work, they must learn hygiene


According to the recruiter, the virtues of Vietnamese workers are that they want to work, put themselves hard at work, obedient and accept overtime. Their weak point is hygiene. If the employer shows the cleanliness expectations - what should be cleaned, where to store it - then they will quickly learn this.


At the accommodation, a strong internet is important for keeping in touch with family members (video calls). All three of them call their family members living in Vietnam every day and send money home. The hardest thing is because of Thoa's 3-year-old daughter. Quynh, on the other hand, found love in Budapest, she is dating a Vietnamese boy.


All three of them live in a sublet: Vu lives in the 20th district of the capital, Quynh lives in the 19th district of the capital and Thoa in Székesfehérvár. In their free time, Vu and Thoa love to play soccer with roommates, colleagues, or just spontaneously on the street. Thoa is known to many Hungarians in Fehérvár, as he often joins those playing football on the public soccer fields. Football is an international language that you can use to understand yourself without knowing Hungarian or English. Quynh spends her free days with her boyfriend and cooking. Sometimes on a non-working day, he prepares Vietnamese food three times, which he brings to his colleagues the next day.


According to their plans, they all want to stay in Hungary. Quynh would open her own business in a few years, Thoa's wish for her little child to join them, and Vu would not move to another country, he feels very comfortable here.



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