Vietnam may limit immigration to central cities

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Women from provinces work as street vendors in Hanoi

The Ministry of Public Security is seeking public opinion on proposed amendments to the Law on Residence that would restrict migration to centrally-administered cities. 

Under the draft amendments, expected to be submitted to the National Assembly next year, applicants for permanent residence in the five cities Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, and Can Tho must have lived there for at least three years without interruption, as compared to one year as currently regulated.

Residences at which migrants wish to apply for residency must provide at least 5 square meters of land area for each resident registered there.

The area-per-resident rule aims to prevent people from allowing others to register at their homes for profit.

This regulation, however, is not applicable in Hanoi, where applicants must own a house, or be renting one under a "long-term" term contract and must also have lived there continuously for at least two years.

But several lawmakers have criticized the proposed amendments, which would go into effect in 2014 if passed.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Bui Sy Loi, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee, said residential management should "definitely" not be conducted through "administrative measures."

Under Vietnam's Constitution, every citizen has the freedom to reside anywhere in the country, so residential management must rely on policies that encourage people to stay in their localities instead of moving to big cities, he said.

Meanwhile, Tran Du Lich, a lawmaker of Ho Chi Minh City, said that city governments should be granted more authority to handle residential matters in accordance with local circumstances.

In response to the criticism, Tran The Quan, deputy chief of the ministry's legislation department, said that the amendments were drafted "carefully," and "neatly."


Da Nang under fire for immigration restrictions

He stressed that they did not violate people's rights and freedoms regarding residence. 

A report on Dan Tri said that the five centrally-administered cities were home to 18 million people in total, accounting for more than 20 percent of the country's population.

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