The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vietnam to expel foreign expats starting in July

Read the original article here.

Basically the government has decreed that they will begin deporting foreigners in July if they are found working for more than 3 months without both a work permit and business visa. This comes on the heals of the government last year all-but eliminating the old six-month visas and requiring most/many expats to exit and re-enter every three months for a non-renewable 3-month visa, and limiting tourist visas to 1 month.

After the visa restrictions last year, new methods of getting black market visas evolved. They are provided by immigration through travel agents. It just costs 2-3 times what it used to a year ago and requires exit and re-entry. Therefore I surmise we could see similar routes to acquire work papers. Unfortunately people didn't suddenly all "get legal" this year--so I don't think the process got any easier.

Everyone says this is just for "the chinese," but everyone seems to bear the brunt of the new regulations, regardless of their nation of origin. So will we have immigration officials visiting all the guest houses and offices soon or no? We will see...

What's your experience renewing your visa this year?


Stef21 said...

you know my story already, but i just want to tell it again. i was told i had to leave the country to get a 3 months visa, then they told me i didnt have to leave the country, but i booked my flight already, they said they would manage to get me the visa until my flight so i changed it, after i changed it they told me i had to leave the country when my visa runs out and they told me i have to change my flight again, then i got angry and said, no, your problem, i will leave the country on the day of my flight and u can get me an extention, i am not changing anything anymore, but the funny thing was, they also got confused with the rules. they did and i didnt have any problems anymore. But i flew to thailand and i was happy i booked 1 week, as it took the immigration office 4 days after i arrived in thailand to send me the invitation letter. wow, i thought that was settled already for weeks, but no, take it slow people.
So when i arrived back in saigon the big fun started, it seemed everybody on my plane had an invitation letter, which ment around 100 people had to wait at the visa on arrival, i wish i could have taken a picture of that because it was a joke. I had to wait 2 hours, so it gave me time to watch some people, there was this australian guy, they actually wanted to send him back to thailand again because he didnt have a passport picture on him, what is wrong with these people. But the funny thing was, there were 5 officers and 3 were actually working, these were 2 issuing the visa and the cashier, the others were writing test messages or one guy was smoking, nice way to present your country. so finally i got my visa and the girl said, 25 dollars, i said, lady, how much do i have to pay for this damn visa, i payed already 250$ for it, she said, you pay 25 dollars, nice, i wasnt informed about this at all, and i had to pay 25$ for the invitation letters. all in all i spend 400 euros for this trip and 300$ for the visa, flight, hotel, food and some pocket money, nice way to get into crisis if you only make 200$ a month.
This whole visa thing will bring the country to the ground and i think they will notice that soon, as many people dont consider vietnam as a returning destination anymore, rather thailand. myself was a great fan of vietnam but this is the last time i am coming here, i rather go to thailand more often, have been there 5 times and could go back again

Adam Bray said...

Hi Stefan,

Thank you for sharing your story, it's very enlightening, and very frustrating what this whole process has come to.

Adam Bray said...

Hmmm... it seems this post got the domain name for this blog blocked locally...

Stef21 said...

I think phan thiet government officials don't like people talking about this. they rather like people talking about the new security guards they hired at the Phan Thiet harbor. They had that big in the news 2 days ago, real proud about that, but there is never one word said about mui ne or ham tien in the news, maybe they dont see it as important as its only a place for tourists and the the locals are happy with their life here

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