The three papers in this portfolio examine three different facets of the ‘migrant experience’ in Hanoi, Vietnam. A special attention must be paid to the role of socio-political institutions in causing or exacerbating marginalization among the most vulnerable in society. As such, these three papers weave one powerful institution throughout the uncovering of the migrant experience: that of the ho khau, or household registration system. This portfolio uncovers the way such a system exacerbates the marginalization of informal and migrant workers. It is responsible for masking the role of the state in providing essential services to informal workers, it makes it difficult for informal migrants to benefit from the outcomes of globalization and an open market, and it allows for the justification of oppression and violence towards a class of people simply trying to improve their livelihood outcomes. Vietnam has undergone drastic economic and social transformations that have created an uneven geography of investment, growth, speculation, poverty and struggle. By exploring the everyday experiences of people struggling to capture this growth, this portfolio reveals the ways in which this unevenness is laid out.