The draft Law on the Capital City contains provisions that would tighten permanent residency requirements in Ha Noi. For instance, those who want to register for regular residency would be required to make a three-year provisional stay in the city instead of the previous two and demonstrate income or stable employment. Viet Nam News asked a National Assembly deputy, an urban development expert and a lawyer for viewpoints.
What do you think about the tighter permanent residency registration requirements in the capital city? Will they help address overpopulation?
Tran Thi Quoc Khanh, deputy from Ha Noi, National Assembly
It is necessary for the draft law to tighten adminstration of migration. However, that does not mean that people will no longer rush to the capital. There are many who just come to Ha Noi for work. These people will still come and work so they do not need permanent residency. So it is not likely that overpopulation can be solved by the law. But I don't think the draft will cause difficulties for people from outside the capital as many have claimed.
|Tran Thi Quoc Khanh
Prof Nguyen Lan, vice president, Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association
I think the overcrowding of Ha Noi requires a solution. Building and developing the capital are the rights and responsibilities of every citizen. We should remember that this is the country's capital so all Vietnamese have responsibilities to it. Everyone, no matter whether they are from the city or not, deserves to be a Ha Noi citizen if they make contributions to the city's development. No one should decide for other people whether to live here or there. The authorities should create favourable conditions to attract people to come to new residential areas. We should ensure freedom of residency based on certain conditions.
Nguyen Hung Quang, lawyer NHQuang & Associates
Bans, constraints or restrictions have failed many times to take effect, or worse, they have had negative effects. Stricter conditions for permanent residency registration in Ha Noi potentially create risks of bribery by which many people try to offer authorities money to become capital citizens.
|Nguyen Hung Quang
Ha Noi has tried in vain a number of measures to solve its overpopulation problem which has been driven by migration for many years. In fact, it is impossible to restrict migration to the capital where the city offers benefits and a stable life. So, to resolve this issue, legislators should consider a comprehensive policy to improve living conditions of people in the capital's neighbouring provinces and cities. This will serve as a long-term measure to control migration while, more importantly, respecting people's rights.
Are these additional provisions in the draft Law on the Capital City unconstitutional or in conflict with other laws or regulations?
Khanh: The draft law does not go against existing laws since it has been based closely on the Constitution and the Law on Residency.
Lan: To my knowledge, people have the right to reside anywhere in the country under the Constitution, and the Law on Residency also states that every citizen is free to seek residency. However, when we apply such laws, we have to pay attention to certain conditions, as I have mentioned before.
Quang: The method to restrict migration to the capital city is contrary to Article 68 of the 1992 Constitution which provides that all citizens have the right to move and reside freely within the country. The condition for permanent residence registration that requires people to have at least three-year temporary residence in the capital is also contrary to Article 20 of the Law on Residency.
I acknowledge that the goal of the law's drafting committee was to form a special system for the capital. But it definitely cannot be contrary to the Constitution and other current laws.
Do other countries have conditions for their citizens to register for permanent residence in their capital cities or other major cities?
Quang: The drafting committee has cited Belarus, Russia and China as countries which apply some migration conditions to their capital cities that are stricter than regulations applied nationwide. Although these countries share some similarities with Viet Nam in terms of State management, it is necessary for lawmakers to learn from their failures or shortcomings instead of assuming that Viet Nam can have similar conditions.
What legal provisions are needed to manage the city's population but still ensure citizens' rights?
Khanh: I have visited many other cities and provinces nationwide. They also have condensed areas and places with few residents. This is the same for Ha Noi and HCM City. Ha Noi has been expanded into one of the largest capital cities in the world. It now has 29 districts. Local authorities should not focus on central districts like Hoan Kiem, Hai Ba Trung and Dong Da. The reason why people still rush to the city centre is that such districts have better living conditions. We can see that power cuts and water shortages are unusual to those places. Infrastructure is more convenient. They are also home to central Governmental offices and commercial centres. What we can do now is make suburban areas more attractive to people by investing more in these places.
Lan: Ha Noi is in need of development. We need scientists, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and workers. We need to build up new areas and attract people to them, make them feel like living there instead of rushing into the inner city.
There's a reality that Ha Noi has many new residential areas with few residents living in them. Many people buy houses in such areas and leave them there and still live in the crowded inner city because, in the inner city, they enjoy better quality of life and business. We have built many new residential areas but have not made them attractive.
Quang: The country should adopt co-ordinated measures in all localities, instead of focusing on inner cities. The draft law should encourage neighbouring localities to develop infrastructure systems such as express train routes, hospitals, schools, clean water systems and telecommunication networks. The city's officers working in Ha Noi should voluntarily move to the suburbs to live and work. It would be an effective way to encourage citizens to follow suit. — VNS