Police decry residence law loopholes
Migrants in HCM City have been receiving permanent resident status following the promulgation of the law on residence registration in 2007. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan
HCM CITY — More than 300,000 migrants from other provinces have been granted permanent residence status since the Residence Registration Law became effective in July 2007, according to the HCM City Police Department.
However, the surge in the number of citizens has caused problems for local police officers and civil servants who blame loopholes in the law.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has recently asked the Ministry of Public Security to overhaul the new Residence Law to remove any loopholes.
The draft amendments will be presented to the National Assembly and Government.
The Residence Law relaxed former residence registration regulations, which had required that each person have a living space of at least eight square metres.
Under previous regulations, permanent residence status was revoked for any citizen absent from their homes for more than six months.
Currently, because of the new law's loopholes, many households have registered individuals as living in their homes, including relatives and others, who actually reside elsewhere.
Nguyen Xuan Ha, a 49-year-old who lives on Binh Thanh District's Chu Van An Street, has allowed up to 103 individuals to register as permanent residents at her tiny house, which has floor space of only five square metres.
The house actually houses only eight people, including her husband, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren.
"They kept entreating me to register them as residents at my house," she said. "Many others still come to me to ask for the same favour."
"I cannot turn them down. Anyway, it's not prohibited by law," she added.
Ha said that she couldn't remember all the names of those who had registered at her house, and did not know where they live.
"Some of them are living in a cemetery near the neighbourhood," she said, conceding that she had accepted some gifts in return for registering them.
Since the new law took effect, Binh Thanh District's Police Department has registered nearly 14,000 new permanent residents with more than 2,500 households, or 5.6 residents per household on average.
Every day, the district handles 100 to 230 applications for permanent residence status, according to the Police Department.
"We can only manage these residents on paper, not in person," complained captain Nguyen Hoang Son, a police officer with Binh Thanh District's Ward 12.
"Sometimes army enlistment orders never reach the 18-year-old males since they do not reside at the registered households," he said.
"We have also failed to reach registered residents to have them pay their fees for various neighbourhood services," he added, noting that he had found it difficult to ensure security and social order in the neighbourhood.
It is estimated that more than 2 million migrants in the city are looking forward to having permanent residence status. — VNS