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Overseas Vietnamese contributions praised (April 05, 2005)

Ha Noi (VNA) - "We highly value the overseas Vietnamese community's contributions to their fatherland", Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh has affirmed in a recent interview with US news agency AP.

Binh, who is also Chairman of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA), said that the millions of Vietnamese people living and working abroad are a treasure as they play an important role in and make effective contributions to Viet Nam's national construction. The overseas Vietnamese community functions as a bridge of friendship in promoting understanding, cooperative relations and feelings between their resident countries and Viet Nam.

Deputy Minister Binh said that the committee will focus on four big issues to attract more overseas Vietnamese to invest and do business in Viet Nam.

1. To put forward measures and policies to facilitate overseas Vietnamese returning home and the issues of immigration, applying for and renouncing citizenship. If anyone wants to have dual citizenship, we will consider settling the case in line with international practice. We will promote policies for overseas Vietnamese such as the right of inheritance and will facilitate them owning real estate, and buying and using houses. There will be opening policies and measures to address each individuals' rights.

2. To propose to the Government measures and policies to facilitate overseas Vietnamese doing business and investing in Viet Nam comfortably and create the most favourable conditions for overseas Vietnamese intellectuals and scientists to return home, not only to help the country develop its technology but also to help them develop their own business and qualifications.

3. To pay more attention to overseas Vietnamese's spiritual and cultural life, and to provide regular information on domestic news and culture to overseas Vietnamese abroad through television, e-newspapers, websites and newspapers as well as through the help of art troupes performing overseas.

The Government encourages the exchange of culture between artists both at home and abroad and will create favourable conditions for expatriates to return home to performs as well as for artists at home to perform abroad for the overseas Vietnamese community. The Government will also encourage sports competitions for sportspeople at home and abroad.

4. To support the study of Vietnamese language for expatriates, especially younger generations. Parents abroad have raised concerns over losing the Vietnamese language among their children and only few now have the opportunity to study and use their mother-tongue.

Support will be diverse and takes the forms of providing them with textbooks, airing Vietnamese teaching programmes on television, building Vietnamese language schools for the Vietnamese community abroad.

Young generations of overseas Vietnamese are COVA's prime target. Last year, the committee opened the first summer camp, which lasted for two weeks, for 90 young people from different overseas Vietnamese communities abroad. The second camp is expected to take place this coming July. COVA plans to organise annual summer Vietnamese language courses for children living abroad and encourges them to return home to study the mothertongue systematically.

The number of overseas Vietnamese who return home to visit relatives or work has surged to 430,000 in 2004 from just 8,000 in 1986, the first year of renewal in Viet Nam. The lunar New Year festival in 2005 alone saw 200,000 overseas Vietnamese pay visits, making up one-sixth of the foreign arrivals.

The Vietnamese community abroad has remitted some 3 billion USD annually, contributing not only to improving their relatives' living conditions but also developing the national economy and society, said Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh.

The Government has been working on legal reforms to make the reception and remmitance process more convenient and in line with laws of both Viet Nam and expatriates' resident countries, Binh concluded.--Enditem

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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