In China, on the other hand, less generous financial incentives could convince migrants to go home despite the logistical hurdles.
Last year, many local governments and manufacturers, such as Apple suppliers Foxconn, Pegatron and Luxshare, rolled out incentives for employees who chose not to travel for the Lunar New Year. The aggressive approach brought the number of holiday trips down to 840 million in 2021.
It is a more mixed picture this year, with less generous perks but stronger demands by companies to stay. The latest estimate is that 1.18 billion trips will be made during this New Year, up more than 35% from 2021, though still 60% lower than the pre-pandemic level of 2019, according to China's Ministry of Transport.
Though incentives are reduced this year, quarantine rules in China and Vietnam are nonetheless discouraging travel.
"My friend's schedule to return to Taiwan for New Year was suddenly pushed back because the building she lives in was suddenly put under lockdown for 48 hours and she's been told to stay put in Shanghai for another 12 days after the lockdown is lifted, just because there were five confirmed cases in the neighborhood," a manager at a financial service company in Shanghai told Nikkei Asia.
"You could get notice in the morning that all of the people in the neighborhood need to conduct a PCR test before noon," a Beijing resident told Nikkei Asia. "Otherwise your green health code -- the key passport for you to travel anywhere -- will automatically become invalid."
Some workers who are choosing to take incentives this year say they are doing so reluctantly.
Foxconn's Zhengzhou facility in Henan, the world's largest iPhone assembly hub, is offering workers 1,600 yuan ($250) if they take only three days off from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, and 900 yuan if they take five days, according to an internal notice.
A worker surnamed Tang told Nikkei that his team leader urged him to sign an agreement on Thursday to promise he would stay, despite the leader telling him two days ago that he could take 12 days off for the Spring Festival.
"I couldn't go home anyway due to the outbreak, so I signed the statement. Earning 1,600 yuan is not bad, but I'll be very tired," he said.
Foxconn declined to comment for this story.