Fund to assist citizens abroad

Update: July, 11/2008 - 00:00

Fund to assist citizens abroad


HA NOI — A special fund has just been established enabling Vietnamese embassies and consulates to offer urgent support when needed to Vietnamese citizens and business corporate abroad.

With an initial budget of VND20 billion, mainly from the State budget, the fund will be used to help those who face serious problems they cannot overcome, such as serious accidents.

The help will include paying for tickets to return home to Viet Nam and hospital fees. However, it will be provided under the sponsorship of their families or organisations in Viet Nam who will guarantee they will pay back the money.

The heads of Vietnamese diplomatic missions will be able to approve payments under US$3,000. The director of the fund in Viet Nam will be able to approve up to $10,000.

If the expense exceeds that level, the case must be reported to Minister of Foreign Affairs for approval.

The fund will cover non-refundable and refundable expenditures.

Non-refundable grants will be used to help protect people’s lives and moving them to safe places in case of war, conflict, natural disasters, epidemics, terrorism attacks and kidnappings.

They will also be used in approved cases when Vietnamese citizens fall foul of the law overseas and need special help.

The grants will only be paid to citizens who cannot afford to pay and have no sponsorships. Some of the special-fund money will be used to pay for the time and effort of staff involved.

Refundable expenditures include advance payments for hospital fees, medicines, air tickets to return to Viet Nam, accommodation and food, funerals, cremations and the transportation of deceased citizens.

Those receiving them will have to make written commitments to pay back the money.

"All cases will be solved as soon as possible so that needy Vietnamese people abroad can receive timely support," said the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Head of Consulate Department, Duong Chi Dung.

Dung, who is also director of the fund, said that financial support for Vietnamese citizens abroad had been carried out for a long time.

He said diplomatic staff had dealt with many problems involving Vietnamese labourers, women who married foreigners and students.

"The newly established fund will enable embassies and consulates to be more active in supporting needy people now that more Vietnamese people are travelling, working and studying overseas," he said.

"The fund is a product of the concern of the Party and State in protecting and supporting Vietnamese citizens and representatives overseas," he said.

Dung added that recently, Vietnamese fishermen had been sent home after being seized by Indonesian authorities because they had illegally fished in Indonesian territory. He said it was the first time the Vietnamese embassy in Indonesia had used the fund.

However, the owners of the fishing boats were now responsible for paying back the money.

"VND20 billion is just a small sum and will be constantly topped-up from the State budget," said Dao Viet Trung, Deputy Foreign Minister, "So the Government encourages individuals, enterprises and organisations in and outside the country to contribute to the fund."

Vietnamese people residing overseas, who buy local insurance, are not eligible to the special support. – VNS