Passport rush in central Vietnam as people target jobs abroad

By Nguyen Hai, Duc Hung   February 10, 2022 | 07:00 am PT
Passport rush in central Vietnam as people target jobs abroad
People line up before entering an immigration office in Nghe An, February 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Linh
Hundreds gathered outside immigration offices in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces after the Tet holiday to apply for passports, double the number last year, local officials said.

A large crowd lined up outside the Nghe An Police immigration office Thursday to complete procedures for their passports. Police officers were assigned to instruct people on what they had to do.

Pham Ba Linh, from the province's Tan Ky District, said he had driven over 100 km on his motorbike to Vinh to get his passport because he plans to work in Japan this year, now that the pandemic situation has improved. It took him over an hour to complete the application.

Ngo Xuan Manh, an immigration officer, said his office has helped over 2,200 people to complete passport procedures since the Tet holiday ended. On Thursday alone, over 300 people came to the office, he added.

The number of people coming to the office for their passports has doubled compared to the same period last year, Manh said. Enough officers were pressed into service in order to handle all inquiries within the day, he added.

As the Covid-19 situation has been put under control and both domestic and international flights have resumed, more people are looking to get their passports this year so they could go abroad, Manh said.

He anticipated that "many people would come to get their passports done by February 15."

The Ha Tinh immigration office has also been swamped with hundreds coming to apply for passports.

Duong Dinh Quang, 23, said he woke up early Thursday morning despite the cold rain to catch a bus to Ha Tinh center and apply for a passport. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, he has only been able to work odd jobs in his hometown with no stable income. He plans to go to Taiwan to work in the near future, he said.

"In Taiwan, an average worker’s salary is around VND20 million ($881.74) a month, and it could be more if one works more shifts. I already wanted to file my documents to go last year, but because of the coronavirus situation and the fact that I was unvaccinated, I was not able to," Quang explained.

Some workers are travelling abroad per their companies' requests, while some said they wanted to travel to countries like Laos and Thailand on their own to find work. There were others who just wanted to renew their passports.

"I plan to go to Thailand to work as a dishwasher at restaurants, earning a monthly salary of around VND12 million," said Tran Thi Thuan from Nghi Xuan District.

Vo Thanh Tung, an officer at the immigration office of Ha Tinh police, said around 300 people were coming to the office each day starting Monday to get their passports and relevant documents done, an increase of 70 percent compared to the same period last year.

"Passports will be provided eight days after we receive documents to issue them," he said.

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