The paper reviews major developments in vietnam over the past decades as it moves from a socialist to a market economy, focusing on the changing labour market situation, the present tvet system and its role in helping returned exiles find employment opportunities. It finds that, despite tremendous effort, only limited success was achieved and that the organisation and operation of the technical and vocational education system contributed only nominally to the reintegration of returnees into the labour market. The 1998 data for the research were drawn primarily from the findings of a survey of exiles repatriated in the 1990s. It was conducted by the ministry of labor, invalids and social affairs (molisa) of vietnam and by the european community international program for the reintegration of vietnamese returnees (ecip). 2001, Taylor & francis group, llc.