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|Phu Quoc Island. Foreigners entering Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province with a 30-day stay period will be eligible for visa waivers if a public security ministry's proposal is approved.-Photo vinatravel.com.vn|
This proposal is in the draft Law on foreigners’ entry into, exit from, transit through and residence in Vietnam (Law No 47), which will be sent to the Government before being submitted to the National Assembly for approval at the 8th session in October.
At the end of 2013, the then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued a number of specific mechanisms and policies to develop Phu Quoc Island. One of which is visa exemptions for foreigners entering the island with a temporary stay of no more than 30 days.
This rule has been applied for five years but has not been legalised so far.
The ministry said it should be supplemented to the amended Law No 47 to provide legal basis for continuing to apply this mechanism.
The draft law also proposes to remove the regulation that compels the following entry date to be at least 30 days from the previous exit for unilateral visa exemption.
The existing regulation aims to restrain foreigners exploiting this rule to work in Vietnam without complying with the Labour Law. However, many tourism businesses have said the rule has caused difficulties for foreign tourists entering Vietnam on unilateral visa waiving mechanism.
Another issue mentioned by the draft law is foreigners taking advantage of the regulations that grant visas and temporary residence cards for a maximum of five years for foreigners with investment certificates of contributing capital to enterprises in Vietnam. A number of foreigners have contributed little money in micro businesses such as barber shops and food shops to get five-year visas.
Therefore, the ministry has proposed to issue visas with a term of not more than 12 months for foreign investors with small investment capital. Meanwhile, investors with large investment capital may be granted visas of no more than 10 years.
In addition, the draft law also amends the visa exemption provisions for foreigners entering border-gate economic zones or special administrative economic units.
According to a report of the General Department of Tourism, more than 2.2 million visitors came to Phu Quoc Island in the first half of this year, up nearly 36 per cent year-on-year and equivalent to 52.7 per cent of its yearly plan. Of which, foreign tourists reached 400,000 people, up 35.5 per cent year-on-year.