Mar 1, 2013

Vietnam - Going abroad for two years, people to be removed from family record books?

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VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese people who live abroad for two years upward will be wiped out from the family record book, according to the draft Residence Law that was submitted to the National Assembly Standing Committee on February 26.

The draft law has some new conditions for residence registration and provides stricter regulations on immigration to big cities.

Specifically, citizens are permitted to immigrate to major cities if they satisfy one of the following conditions: owning a legal house in that city; having stable accommodations that are not owned by themselves and staying there for at least two consecutive years; being admitted to the family of the people who have residence registration book in that city (for the cases of singles who live with their relatives).

Those who register as Hanoi’s residents must obey the Law of the Capital.

In particular, the competent authorities will remove permanent registration for those who go abroad for two years or more, prisoners or the citizens who join the army.

In addition, the draft law also bans citizens from admitting others into their family record books and signing of indefinite labor contracts in order to prevent rampant residence registration into big cities.

Chairman of the National Assembly’s Legal Committee – Mr. Phan Trung Ly – said that the regulation on eliminating citizens from the family record book if they go abroad for two years or more does not guarantee the right to freedom of residence that has been defined in the Constitution.

"This provision shall apply to officers and state employees who are sent to work in a foreign country, people go abroad to work, study, for medical treatment? This regulation will make people have to worry about keeping their residence and have to return home before the two-year deadline. Moreover, which agency will manage these people whose residence status is eliminated?" Ly asked.

For prisoners, if their names are wiped out from the family record books, it will make it difficult for them to re-integrate into the community and it does not guarantee the humanities.

Freedom of residence

National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung affirmed, the modified law must create maximum conditions for people to exercise their right to freedom of residence, rather than "prohibit" and "delete."

"The principle is that people should be free to reside, travel, enjoy medical care, and have a place to study. The permanent and temporary residence registration must be easy and open," Hung said.

According to him, the Law of Residence must be consistent with the Constitution and the current law on ensuring the freedom for citizens. Thus, the conditions on residence registration or prohibited behavior should be in the spirit of creating the most favorable conditions for the people rather than making them difficult.

The NA’s Justice Committee Chairman Nguyen Van Hien added that "resident registration is the inalienable rights." He also opposed to the elimination of residence of those who go to prison or go abroad for two years or more.

The Deputy Minister of Public Security explained that only their names are deleted from the family record book and when they return, they will be admitted to the registration book again and the Minister of Public Security shall determine in each case.

Shortly thereafter, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung continued: "It should be emphasized that the freedom of residence must be consistent with the right to free education, medical treatment and labor. The rights must be guaranteed so all other rights are performed synchronously. Moreover, this right is the right of citizens so it must not be banned.”

According to the Chair of the National Assembly, the actual population explosion in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has shown that despite strict conditions and bans, people still find ways to circumvent the law and to flock to the capital. This situation has caused difficulty for both management agencies and the people.

"The management agencies should not only think in the direction of facilitating themselves but to think of guaranteeing the interests of the people," he said.

The draft law on residence will be re-considered and submitted to the NA Standing Committee after two sessions.

Do not torment people for residence registration 

Most VietNamNet’s readers were surprised with the draft law on residence, particularly the provision on those who will lose their permanent residence after going abroad for two years or more.

Some people said they would not dare send their children to overseas schools for fear that they will no longer be recognized as citizens of Vietnam. Some also questioned that the above regulation is set to facilitate for harassment. Many other showed their worry of brain drain ...

Some readers said that Vietnam should not go back to the "old days" to torment people by residence status because residence is only a means for management, not a great benefits to the people. They worried that the difficulty in getting back the residence would encourage Vietnamese people, including talented students, to not return home.

Some people questioned why the state has to dismiss someone from their family record books and then add them to the book again? Because this will raise difficulty to the people while create opportunity for corruption.

Reader Nguyen Nam (nam22341 @ ...) wrote: “The authorities say it will be easily to get back the residence status, but it is only theoretical because in fact all procedures are very complicated and only people know about it.”

Many readers analyzed that such procedures will create more works for the police sector.

Most of the readers supported NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung’s viewpoints.

Ngoc Le

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