Malaysia tightens security ahead of SEA Games 29

Addressing the forum, Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng said sharing intelligence was a vital tool to help member countries address illegal immigration. "2015 has seen advantages for ASEAN countries’ economic development. Immigration is an important and complicated matter, and immigration offences always pose threats to social security and economy through transnational crimes. Therefore, it is essential for all ASEAN immigration departments to strengthen cooperation to tackle these issues," he said. Participants discussed the establishment of an immigration hot line, intelligence data sharing protocols and the irregular movement of people. Earlier, participants attended the 11th ASEAN Immigration Intelligence Forum where they stressed the importance of strengthening regional cooperation through sharing immigration intelligence and information among ASEAN member states.... [read more]

While Vietnamese guest workers in foreign countries have to register with the local authorities through their employers, there is a large number of foreign workers illegally employed in Vietnam but local authorities do not know the exact figure even where they live and work. According to Phan Quoc Thai, deputy head of the Vietnam Immigration Department in Southern regions of Vietnam under the Ministry of Public Security, the number of foreign workers from Africa and the Middle East coming to Ho Chi Minh City has increased rapidly in recent years. The number rose from 2,893 in 2005 to 4,080 in 2007 and 1,765 in just the first half on 2008. However, many foreign workers in Ho Chi Minh City do not have work permits because they don’t satisfy the criteria in terms of work experience. Some work at two firms at once. Tam said the Department is seeking ways to address the situation. Problems persist in the management of foreign labourers. Ho Chi Minh City currently has about 8,000 legal foreign workers, however, this figure is only the tip of the iceberg. Many enterprises recruit foreign labourers themselves from China and African countries, since there are no enterprises in Vietnam which are permitted to do it for them. Foreign labourers work in Vietnam in such fields as education, footwear, garments and textiles, printing and building-often for low salaries. Most footwear and garment and textile companies employ Chinese workers. Foreign workers beyond number A report from Ho Chi Minh City’s Department…... [read more]

The meeting was held by the Ministry of Public Security and a delegation of experts from the EU, and described by both sides as “very important”. Diederik Paalman, an expert on immigration and visa policies from Europe said people from developing countries should be given up-to-date information on migration policies when they head to an EU country. He said integration for all legal migrants was a key EU policy, under which migrants would be provided with free language training and education on culture and society. Illegal migration caused many security problems, he said. Bui Quoc Thanh, deputy director of the Consulate Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs, said international migration is a socio-economic development phenomenon. About 3.2 million Vietnamese have migrated to nearly 100 countries in the world and the number is increasing every day. Among them, 500,000 are migrant workers who send home US$1.6 billion each year, 250,000 are Vietnamese brides and 30,000 students, according to Thanh. Representative of the Immigration Department said they are working on a master plan for the next five years (2010-2015), under which they would apply the electronic passports via the Bio Recognition and Identity information system, and an immigration website. An official from the department said the plan would boost the fight against illegal migration.... [read more]

Medical and educational specialists were the first ones to go to Africa in the 1980s and 300 of them remain there. Looking homeward Vietnamese people in Angola are involved in a wide range of business such as textiles and garments, import and export services, foodstuffs and the service sector. Angola is very rich in natural resources like oil and diamonds, but the country is still very underdeveloped in medical service, education and environmental protection. Many people suffer from diseases like malaria, cholera, pulmonary tuberculosis, and AIDS and since the beginning of 2009 four Vietnamese people have died of such diseases. According to Nghiem Nhat Mai, Chairman of the Vietnamese Residents’ Association in Angola, despite the global economic downturn, they always protect one another to overcome difficulties and turn their hearts towards their homeland. This spirit is expressed by activities like the campaign to raise US$3,840 for the Young Volunteers’ fund, and US$2,000 for the Vietnam Women’s Union’s “Houses for the poor” fund. Although they live far from home, all the country’s national festivals like the Tet holiday, Independence Day, War Invalids and Martyrs Day, and People’s Army foundation Day are celebrated on a regular basis. Since the re-opening of the Vietnamese Embassy in Angola, the Executive Board of the Vietnamese Residents’ Association says they have held many meetings to help people feel less homesick and provide a forum for them to air their own problems. Recently, many workers have been exported to African countries through broking agencies at a very…... [read more]

This move is expected to reduce entry clearance time for passengers and prevent congestion and delays at airports. Colonel Le Thanh Dung, Vice Head of the Immigration Department under the Ministry of Public Security, said that the ministry’s proposal for abolition of immigration declaration forms has been approved by the Prime Minister. Mr Dung said that this effort shows the Vietnamese Government’s determination to push through public administration reform. His ministry is also working to abolish the same immigration procedures at border gates and ports. He added that all this will help attract more visitors to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam Customs has also stepped up the application of information technology in immigration by using state-of-the-art equipment such as passport readers.... [read more]

The regulation will take effect as of August 14. Foreign passengers on connection flights or transit at international seaports will have to have their application for tourist visas arranged by travel agents in advance if they plan to enter Vietnam. The application process will take no more than one day, the Immigration Department has affirmed. Transit tourist visas, only US$5 each, are much more economical than tourist visas, which cost from US$25 to US$120 each. The chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association, Vu The Binh, said that the decision would attract more transit tourists to the country. "Transit tourists can now go through several sea ports instead of the single one, which usually takes them more than 5 days to enter Vietnam," Binh said. "The new regulation will create favourable conditions for transit tourists," he added. Michael Young, from England , said that he would consider breaking up his flight from London to Sydney later this year to spend a couple of days in Vietnam due to the new regulations. "Fifteen days will make a decent visit, I guess," he said. Up to date, Vietnam has received very few transit tourists.... [read more]

Duong Manh Hung, director of the Foreign Labor Department under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the government has instructed his agency to draft proposals on requirements for foreign professional workers. “It has been too strict when we require foreigners to have at least a bachelor degree and five years of experience in their field to be able to work in Vietnam,” he told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City April 8. Hung said amendments to Decree 102 on foreign labor in Vietnam are expected to be approved and enforced in the third quarter this year. “We are also considering two proposals especially for workers from Southeast Asia, either removing work permit requirements or keeping them to the minimum,” he said. Representative of a Singaporean company raises his questions at the conference on foreign labor held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 9. Photo: Minh Hung Multinational corporations Policy makers will also propose favorable policies for employees being transferred to Vietnam from the same company abroad. Currently, they have to apply for a work permit just like other employees who are being recruited for the first time. The conference attracted an audience of more than 200 representatives of foreign businesses, associations and law firms who also shared their concerns on immigration issues. Benjamin Yap, senior partner at PBC Partners & RHTLaw, said a common concern for many foreigners in Vietnam is not entering Vietnam, but leaving the country. “If facing a pending civil suit, foreigners…... [read more]

There has been a huge increase in refugees from impoverished Bangladesh and Myanmar drifting on boats to Malaysia and Indonesia in recent days since Thailand, usually the first destination in the region's people smuggling network, announced a crackdown on the trafficking. Over 100 refugees from these countries were found wandering around in southern Thailand last week, apparently having been abandoned by smugglers. An estimated 25,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar boarded rickety smugglers' boats in the first three months of this year, twice as many in the same period of 2014, the UN refugee agency UNHCR has said. Most land in Thailand, where they are held by the smugglers in squalid jungle camps until relatives pay a ransom. Police on the northwest Malaysian island of Langkawi, close to the Thai border, said three boats had arrived in the middle of the night to unload refugees, who were taken into custody as they came ashore. One boat was discovered after it got stuck on a breakwater, but the other two vessels escaped. There was no immediate word on the crew. The boats contained 555 Bangladeshis and 463 Rohingya, who were being handed over to the immigration department, local police chief Harrith Kam Abdullah said.... [read more]

Lieutenant General Vo Trong Viet, Commander of the Vietnam Border Guard, and General Sok Phal , Head of the Cambodian Interior Ministry's immigration department, reviewed the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed at the equivalent meeting in 2014. They also assessed immigration control and order and security in border areas and border gates between the two countries. They agreed that the implementation of cooperation activities has built trust, mutual understanding and solidarity among forces working at border areas. They pledged to increase cooperation and solve border issues on the principles of solidarity, friendship and respect for each other’s independence sovereignty and territorial integrity. The two sides will coordinate in border control and together turn the border into a peaceful, friendly and stable one for mutual development and benefits. During the visit to Cambodia from July 12-18, the Vietnam Border Guard Command’s delegation will also meet Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng.... [read more]

In his address, COVA vice chairman Tran Trong Toan stressed that the issuance of regulations on visa exemptions for overseas Vietnamese has shown the special care of the Party and State for Vietnamese nationals residing abroad. Painter Van Duong Thanh, who resides in Sweden, said the decision has drawn great attention from the Vietnamese community in Sweden. She said as a lecturer and painter, the certificate will help facilitate her travel between the two countries. “With the certificate, I feel as if there is no geographical distance between Sweden and the homeland, and I can return at any time,” said Mrs Thanh. According to Trieu Van The, head of the Immigration Department, the granting of the certificates took place smoothly thanks to thorough preparations and close coordination between the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To better serve more overseas Vietnamese who are expected to return home for the certificates, Mr The said his department has trained its staff and their colleagues in all 64 cities and provinces in guiding applicants with necessary procedures. The certificate is valid for five years. Overseas Vietnamese can return to Vietnam as many times as they want without applying for visas. They are allowed to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of 90 days, and can apply for an extension of their stay in the country.... [read more]