Ok, I often hear people in Australia say "Vietnamese-born Australian", but I am not sure that term refers to:

  • A child was born in Vietnam by Vietnamese parents then the child and his / her parents moved to Australia

  • A child was born in Australia by Vietnamese parents who moved to Australia from Vietnam

Also, are there any difference between "Vietnamese-born Australian" & "Vietnamese Australian"?

6 Answers 6


I don't agree entirely with the current answer, so I'll try my hand at answering.

  • Vietnamese-born Australian refers to someone who was born in Vietnam, but has since become an Australian citizen.
  • Vietnamese Australian would refer to an Australian citizen with Vietnamese ancestry, no matter where he was born, or where he lives, for that matter.
  • 3
    Actually, both "Vietnamese-born Australian" and "Vietnamese-Australian" could apply to someone who currently lives in, say, France.
    – Martha
    Aug 28, 2015 at 19:14
  • Indeed it could, what matters is that this person is an Australian citizen. I didn't make that distinction in my answer, if you read carefully. Aug 29, 2015 at 0:18

A Vietnamese-born Australian is one of two things:

1) Somebody who was born in Vietnam and moved to Australia.


2) An Australian citizen who was born in Vietnam, even if they're currently living somewhere else in the world.

  • 2
    I'm not sure I agree with your first point. Someone who was born in Vietnam and moved to Australia is a Vietnamese living in Australia. Unless he's already a citizen, which by this point, is your second case. Aug 28, 2015 at 18:37
  • 1
    @A Terroba- I think the distinction is between those who were not Australian citizens from birth (group 1) and those who were (group 2). Personally, I don't know that I would use the term to refer to someone born in Vietnam to Australian parents with no actual Vietnamese ancestry (mother gives birth early while vacationing in Vietnam, child grows up entirely in Australia), but it's technically correct. Those are potentially two very different groups that can be described with the same phrase.
    – gp782
    Aug 28, 2015 at 20:53
  • 5
    @JATerroba - This varies from person to person, but I don't think Australian citizenship is necessary to call somebody 'Australian'. I would certainly call somebody 'Australian' if they were an Australian citizen (wherever they live), but somebody who's been living in Australia for 30 years as a 'permanent resident' is Australian in my book even if they're not a citizen. Aug 28, 2015 at 21:01
  • I guess residency is more adequate than citizenship. Aug 29, 2015 at 0:21

I would say "Vietnamese-born Australian" refers to someone who was born Vietnamese and who is now Australian.

This does not really say anything about how they were given the Vietnamese nationality at birth. This could include:

  • Being born in Vietnam. This might happen irrespectively of the nationality of the parents (some countries grant citizenship to anyone being born on their territory, I'm not sure whether this is the case for Vietnam).
  • Being born from Vietnamese parents anywhere in the world (in such a way that they automatically get Vietnamese citizenship, if this is the way Vietnamese laws work).

For someone who was born in the country (irrespectively of their nationality at birth), I would use the country name. For example: a "Vietnam-born" person. (Although this might not come from an authoritative reference, this expression is used multiple times on the Vietnamese Australian Wikipedia page.) It's easy to find this expression in use for a number of other countries too.


A child was born in Vietnam by Vietnamese parents then the child and his / her parents moved to Australia. (Currently a citizen or legal resident of Australia.)

Actually both parents and child could be called "Vietnamese Australian".

The parents could also be called this, however to differentiate the parents could be referred to as:

first generation Vietnamese Australian

or as you said:

Vietnamese-born Australian

And the child (born in Australia) as:

second generation Vietnamese-Australian

  • 2
    Also in my opinion, I would not use "Vietnamese-Australian" for a person living in Australia, but not a citizen or legal resident.
    – user3169
    Aug 28, 2015 at 20:11

A person nationality is the person's nationality. Where a person is born is a location where the birth occurs. Conventional language used properly (short or long) can accurately describe any scenario/situation without interpretation required. All the best


It most likely refers to a person born in Vietnam who is now resident in, or possibly a citizen of, Australia if dual citizenship is approved in Australia. If not, the person is Vietnamese.

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