HCMC grants special entry permission to 3,000 foreign specialists, families

By Nguyen Quy   July 1, 2020 | 06:00 pm PT
HCMC grants special entry permission to 3,000 foreign specialists, families
South Korean workers wait to make health declarations at Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh Province, April 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Binh Minh.
Nearly 3,000 foreign experts, business managers and high-skilled workers have been granted special entry permission to work in HCMC since travel restrictions were applied.

Eighty-two people who are spouses and children of the experts have also been allowed entry, Nguyen Van Lam, deputy director of the municipal Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, said at a conference Tuesday.

Many businesses in HCMC have said that their operations have been negatively affected with foreign investors, technical experts and skilled workers unable to enter the country. They have complained in particular that foreigners are needed to operate some imported machines assembled by them.

Lam said city authorities have been reviewing and approving the proposals from local businesses on allowing of foreign experts and employees to enter.

The list of foreigners who are allowed to enter will be updated on the department’s website on a weekly basis, Lam added. These people can receive their visas at the Vietnamese embassies in their home countries.

They will be required to stay at quarantine centers for 14 days upon arrival, Lam said, adding that they can also opt to spend their quarantine period at local hotels for a fee.

A report from the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs showed that over 93,000 foreign workers are licensed to work in Vietnam but nearly 22,000 of those have been unable to return to Vietnam since the end of March due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Many localities and diplomatic agencies proposed the government to allow at least 7,258 foreign experts, mainly from Japan, South Korea and Japan to enter the country to work for transportation and electricity projects and for key positions in FDI companies.

Vietnam closed its borders and suspended all international flights on March 25, and has stopped issuing visas for foreign nationals since March 18.

At a government meeting in Hanoi last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam was not yet ready to open up to international tourists given the lack of improvement in the global situation and the second wave of infections suffered by several countries in the region, including China and South Korea.

However, the government asked authorities to enable experts, investors, business managers, and highly skilled workers to enter Vietnam to resume work following mandatory quarantine.

With Vietnam’s borders remaining closed, foreign visitor numbers in the first half dropped 55.8 percent year-on-year to 3.74 million.

Vietnam has gone 76 days without community transmission of the novel coronavirus. It has recorded 355 infections without any deaths. With 336 having recovered, the country now has 19 active cases left.

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