Entry restrictions leave Vietnam missing 9,000 foreign workers

By Minh Nga   March 26, 2020 | 04:43 pm PT
Entry restrictions leave Vietnam missing 9,000 foreign workers
An immigration officer inspects the passport and health declaration of a foreign man arriving at Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi, March 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
Vietnam's imposition of coronavirus-related entry restrictions has 34 localities stressing their need to bring in 9,000 foreign skilled workers.

One of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is that 24,410 foreigners have not returned to the country to work, according to data from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. These include 18,999 Chinese, 2,826 South Koreans, and 2,585 citizens from other countries and territories, including experts, skilled workers and managers.

A recent survey by the ministry found 34 cities and provinces now want to bring back more than 9,000 foreigners, mostly Chinese and South Koreans.

Of those 9,000, almost 2,000 are needed for key national projects and projects implemented by multinational corporations involving the application of new technologies, like Hanoi’s first metro line Cat Linh-Ha Dong, the Soc Son waste-to-power plant in Hanoi, an LG Display project in the northern city of Hai Phong, two Samsung projects in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen, and the Vinh Tan 1 thermal power plant in the south central province of Binh Thuan.

Though Vietnam has suspended entry for all foreigners for the moment, the directive issued by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc says that for those entering the country for diplomatic purposes or other special matters such as business managers, experts and high-skilled workers, the ministries of Public Security, National Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Health will take a decision on issuing them with visas.

So far, over 1,100, including some 1,000 South Koreans and the rest, Chinese, have been cleared to enter Vietnam.

China, where the Covid-19 outbreak originated, has reportedly brought the situation under control, while South Korea’s daily infection rate has kept falling of late. South Korea once had the highest number of cases after China.

Vietnam has confirmed 148 infections so far, 132 of them added since March 6, until which date it had gone without any new infection for 22 straight days. Of the total, 17 have recovered and been discharged; and of the 131 active patients, 26 have tested negative between once and three times.

The Covid-19 pandemic has so far claimed over 21,300 deaths worldwide as it spread to 198 countries and territories.

Europe is now the epicenter of the pandemic. Infection and deaths have kept soaring in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany, and many countries have imposed lockdowns and closed borders. The U.S. has seen its case counts escalating, too.

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