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NA agrees to loosen law on nationality

Update: June, 18/2014 - 08:26
The law, effective from July 1, 2009, stipulates that overseas Vietnamese must register with overseas Vietnamese representative missions to retain their Vietnamese nationality within five years after the effective date of this Law.— Photo tuvanluat

HA NOI (VNS) — National Assembly members yesterday agreed that the Law on Vietnamese Nationality should be amended to allow overseas Vietnamese more flexibility in retaining their citizenship.

According to Ha Huy Thong, an NA member from Thua Thien Hue Province, many overseas Vietnamese do not know that they would have to register for citizenship within five years after the Law on Vietnamese Nationality became effective in 2009.

"If this Law is not amended before July 1, 2014, millions of Vietnamese living and working abroad will risk losing their Vietnamese citizenship," he said.

NA member Bui Van Xuyen from Thai Binh Province said requiring them to register would make paperwork burdensome.

According to a Government report, after five years of implementation, so far only more than 6,000 Vietnamese living abroad have registered for the Vietnamese citizenship.

The law, effective from July 1, 2009, stipulates that overseas Vietnamese must register with overseas Vietnamese representative missions to retain their Vietnamese nationality within five years after the effective date of this Law.

Currently, registration must be carried out by July, this year. Those who lose Vietnamese nationality must follow a tedious process to get it restored. Vietnamese officials previously said overseas Vietnamese needed to register if they wanted to enjoy citizenship rights.

However, in some countries where only one citizenship is allowed, few have chosen to retain their Vietnamese citizenship.

There are currently about 4.5 million Vietnamese living abroad.

NA members yesterday also agreed on Viet Nam joining the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and Aircraft Protocol.

The deputies yesterday also asked for detailed regulations on which sectors, businesses and conditions are allowed for enterprises and which are limited for the purposes of national defence, security, social order and health of the community.

The question was raised when the deputies were discussing about the draft amendments to the Law on Enterprises.

The deputies agreed that the law should be in accordance with regulations of the amended 1992 Constitution, which was approved by the NA late November last year. This will create a legal framework for the enterprises' restructuring process, especially State-owned enterprises, and create conditions as well as motivationfor the enterprises' development in the current international integration, they said.

Nguyen Lam Thanh from the northern province of Lang Son said that though the law had stated that enterprises have the right to operate businesses that are not prohibited, in reality various obstacles and problems had indeed hindered enterprises.

The amended law should be clear in the categories of allowed and prohibited businesses as well as solve the problems for enterprises, he said.

Mai Thi Anh Tuyet from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang agreed, adding that the revised law should create favourable conditions for all economic sectors and enterprises to enjoy their rights of doing business.

The deputies also agreed on the regulations of social enterprises, saying that such regulations would encourage enterprises to benefit by investing in social welfare and security. By doing so, the enterprises could join hands with the government in solving social and environmental issues by contributing their resources.

However, they said the regulations in the law may create a misunderstanding that social enterprises are a new form of enterprises outside the current forms of limited liability, joint stock, collective name and private enterprises.

The revised law should regulate in detail the activities of social enterprises as well as clarify the differences between social enterprises and community interest enterprises, they said.

The law should also prevent the phenomenon that enterprises deliberately transform into social enterprises to enjoy priorities, they added.

Nguyen Lam Thanh from the northern province of Lang Son noted that including social enterprises in the draft law was appropriate to the country's social and economic development.

The model had been effectively implemented in many countries and needed to be institutionalised in Viet Nam, he said.

Also, yesterday, the NA deputies approved the draft amendments to the Law on Domestic Waterway Transport.

New rule for foreigners

Under new regulations, multi-passport foreign holders can only use one passport to enter, exit, transit and reside in Viet Nam.

This is one of the new rules in the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners passed by 86 per cent of National Assembly in Ha Noi on Monday.

Regarding visa issuance, the law states that visas granted to foreigners will last between 30 days and five years. Under current regulations, visas are valid for no more than 12 months.

The new regulations exempt foreigners from needing visas if they hold temporary or permanent residence cards. They will also apply to Vietnamese nationals abroad and their foreign spouses, offspring and parents.

Foreigners who are spouses, offspring or parents of Vietnamese citizens residing in Viet Nam will also be exempt from holding visas.

Foreign scientists and experts temporarily reside in Viet Nam will also be considered for permanent residence under the new law.

Under the current regulations, permanent residence permit is only granted to foreigners who made contributions to national independence, democracy and peace or those are spouses, offspring, parents of Vietnamese citizens residing in Viet Nam.

The law, which will take effect from January 1, was publicised for opinions after the previous session of the assembly.

As well as outlining the rights of foreigners to enter and leave the country, it also states the rights and responsibilities of Vietnamese state management agencies, organisations and individuals involved in the issue.

The law will replace the current ordinance on entry, exit, transit and residence of foreigners in Viet Nam. — VNS

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