This essay discusses Vietnamese labor migration to Czechoslovakia before 1990. Specifically, it focuses on the contentious issue of assigning Vietnamese workers to jobs in agriculture, forestry, and construction, which both Vietnamese workers and the state found objectionable because they required outdoor work, did not allow workers to acquire factory job skills, and paid poorly. I show that (a) Vietnamese officials exerted sustained pressure on their Czechoslovak counterparts in order to reverse Czechoslovak decisions on job assignments, and that (b) their efforts were to a significant extent successful. Thus, I conclude, that the Vietnamese state shaped the labor exchange program to a significant degree.

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