|The granting of permanent residency permits to foreigners who have lived in the country for 10-15 years was agreed to in principle by the deputies.— Photo dantri
HA NOI (VNS)— A draft law on entry, exit and residency permits and procedures for foreigners needs several revisions to make it more practical and feasible, lawmakers said yesterday.
National Assembly deputies said at a meeting held to discuss provisions of the draft law that the very definition of "foreigner" needs to be revised.
Article 4 of the draft law defines a foreigner as "one who does not hold a Vietnamese passport."
However, NA deputies said this should be amended because a foreign visitor can hold dual passports. They wanted to know how Vietnamese nationals holding foreign passports and foreign nationals holding Vietnamese passports would be treated by the law.
The draft law, which was last submitted to the 6th National Assembly session in June, 2013, has been revised with the addition of two chapters and 17 articles. It is expected to be approved at the NA's summer session this year.
Yesterday's meeting also discussed visa policies proposed for special administrative-economic zones like Phu Quoc Island, a popular holiday destination.
The government had recently proposed that foreigners and Vietnamese nationals holding foreign passports are exempt from visas for stays of less than 30 days on the island.
Deputies asked the parliament's Defence and Security Committee, which is drafting the bill, not to include this proposal because the special administrative-economic zone was a concept that is still on paper. The provisions being considered now may conflict with those that are devised for such zones later, they said.
Another point raised at the meeting was the single visa that is set to be adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As a member of the regional bloc, Viet Nam would have to endorse its policies and those drafting the bill should take this into account, deputies said.
One proposal to set a time limit for barring people from leaving the country was opposed by a deputy from the Ministry of Public Security who said this would be difficult to enforce for suspects who are on the run.
The granting of permanent residency permits to foreigners who have lived in the country for 10-15 years was agreed to in principle by the deputies.
Nguyen Kim Khoa, who chaired the discussion, said "good revisions" were necessary to make the draf law more feasible and practical. He asked the drafting committee to keep humanitarian considerations in mind and be vigilant about ensuring that law's provisions do not violate the nation's Constitution.
The committee should also be very clear about why any limitation is being placed on people's rights to travel and reside in the country, Khoa said.
Deputies at yesterday's meeting agreed that the law could take effect on January 1, 2015.
The time of six months after the law is passed, as expected, at the upcoming National Assembly session in June, would be sufficient to prepare for its introduction, they said. — VNS