Many lawmakers want to annul citizenship registration law for overseas Vietnamese

Thanh Nien News

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Overseas Vietnamese meet at a recent business gathering event in Lam Dong Province. Photo: Gia Binh Overseas Vietnamese meet at a recent business gathering event in Lam Dong Province. Photo: Gia Binh

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Many lawmakers have called for abolishing the registration deadline for overseas Vietnamese (Viet kieu) seeking to retain their Vietnamese nationality during a discussion of the Law on Vietnamese Nationality.
“If there timely amendments aren't made, millions of Vietnamese people living abroad will lose their Vietnamese nationality -- if they don’t register by July 2014 as per the current law,” said deputy Ha Huy Thong of Thua Thien-Hue province.
Thong said the National Assembly, Vietnam’s parliament, should ratify the amendments during the ongoing session, instead of at the next session this year, which falls after the deadline.
Deputy Bui Van Xuyen of Thai Binh Province also said many constituents are concerned that their relatives abroad could lose their Vietnamese citizenship.
“Overseas Vietnamese are an inseparable part of our country and contribute to improve cooperation and relationships between Vietnam and other countries.”
“The government is responsible for protecting their lawful rights and interests,” he said.
Deputy Nguyen Kim Thuy of Da Nang City said the regulation is bureaucratic and has caused undue difficulties for overseas Vietnamese.
“Instead of registering to retain Vietnamese nationality, they should be allowed to apply for paperwork showing their Vietnamese nationality if they have lost relevant papers like birth certificates, passports, etc.” she said.
According to the National Assembly deputy chairman Uong Chu Luu, many deputies proposed abolishing the registration requirement during group discussions held on June 6.
Nevertheless, he said the assembly will ask legislators to consider the proposals before submitting the final draft at the next session, instead of at the ongoing session.
The 2008 law required overseas Vietnamese, or Viet kieu, who hadn't lost their Vietnamese citizenship by July 1, 2009, to register by July 1 of this year to retain it.
Last month, the Politburo, the decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, agreed to abolish the registration deadline for overseas Vietnamese seeking to retain their Vietnamese nationality.
According a government report, only 6,000 out of 4.5 million Vietnamese residing abroad have registered to retain their Vietnamese nationality so far.
Many Vietnamese people who settled abroad said they retain their citizenship because it would be against the Constitution for it to be deprived, according to the report.

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