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How to apply for asylum in Vietnam

You cannot officially apply for asylum in Vietnam. If you need humanitarian assistance in Vietnam, you want to contact the UNHCR office in Bangkok, Thailand. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Thailand can help you remotely to register as a refugee and help you find a durable solution in a third country.

You can also contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Vietnam. They have offices in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The International Labour Organisation also has an office in Hanoi.

Vietnam offers visa-free access for tourists from many countries around the world. For example, citizens of some countries in the Americas, Europe, and South East Asia can stay without a visa for 15 days or more. You can also easily apply for a 30 days tourist e-visa. India, China, US and Brazil are some of the countries that can apply for an e-visa. You can see a list of countries that are allowed to apply for an e-visa at the national web portal on immigration of Vietnam.

If you wish to stay in Vietnam longer, you want to apply for a long-term visa to Vietnam. Finding a job in Vietnam might be the most effective way to stay in Vietnam.

If you are exploited or you are witnessing exploitation in Vietnam, you can report an exploitation or trafficking case. You can report suspected trafficking-in-persons activity at the closest police person or station in Vietnam. You can also contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Vietnam.

Most websites linked in this article are in English or Vietnamese. If you need, use Google Translate, Tarjimly, or any other translation app.

Refugees in Vietnam

There is limited and frequently outdated information available about asylum seekers leaving and entering Vietnam. The government told the UN Human Rights Committee in 2017 that there had been no asylum applications in Vietnam since 2002. Vietnam is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention on the Rights of the Child, and there is no structure in place to determine international protection needs or refugee protection.

Stateless people

Another key issue is statelessness. According to the Vietnamese government, the number of registered stateless people and people of unknown nationality climbed to 34,110 by the end of 2018, up from 11,000 at the end of 2016. This increase is attributable in part to government efforts to combat statelessness, such as the identification of stateless people. These include Cambodian refugees and women who renounced their Vietnamese nationality after marrying foreign men and acquiring the husband’s nationality, only to return to Vietnam after failed marriages.

Some of these women were sold through illegal marriage agencies by their own families, particularly in Taiwan and South Korea. Vietnamese brides frequently struggle to integrate into their husband’s society due to language and cultural obstacles. Furthermore, domestic violence against foreign female spouses is on the rise in both South Korea and Taiwan, where authorities are working to develop programs to assist victims.

You want to contact the UNHCR office in Bangkok, Thailand for assistance.

Victims of Human Trafficking

Vietnam is primarily a transit nation for people trafficking for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Men, often from ethnic minority communities, have been reported to be trafficked into forced labor situations in construction, fishing, agriculture, mining, maritime industries, logging, and manufacturing, primarily in Taiwan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Japan, and, to a lesser extent, parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. Debt bondage, passport confiscation, and deportation threats are common coercive methods, while enticing occurs through misleading advertising, particularly on the internet through gaming sites, social media, and messaging apps. Within the country, Vietnamese of all sexes and ages, including street children and people with disabilities, are subjected to forced labor, though little information is available on these cases. Children are forced to sell and beg on the streets in large cities. Some youngsters are coerced or bonded to work in informal garment and brick factories, urban family residences, and privately managed rural mines.

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation as a result of unequal gender relations and socioeconomic disparities. Traffickers are increasingly preying on girls from ethnic minority tribes in the northwest highlands, entrapping them in the ancient practice of bride kidnapping and forcing them into sex work or domestic labor. Vietnamese women who travel overseas for foreign marriages or to work in restaurants, massage parlors, or karaoke bars are occasionally subjected to domestic servitude or sex trafficking. Vietnamese women and children are sold to brothels on the borders of Cambodia, China, and Laos, and are sometimes trafficked to countries such as Thailand and Malaysia, where they are forced into prostitution. Child sex trafficking is more common among children from destitute rural areas, although victims from the middle and upper classes are on the rise. Child sex tourists are said to be mostly from Asia, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Informally or through state-owned or state-regulated labor recruitment organizations, the Vietnamese go overseas for work, some of which are insensitive to workers’ requests for aid in circumstances of exploitation. Some also charge exorbitant fees, trapping workers in debt. Unlicensed middleman brokers and Vietnamese labor export organizations have been known to operate unlawfully, abusing weak and needy migrants.

If you are exploited or you are witnessing exploitation, you can report an exploitation or trafficking case. You can report suspected trafficking-in-persons activity at the closest police person or station. You can also contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) anywhere you are.


Source: UNHCR on Vietnam, Integral Human Development Vietnam

The cove image is somewhere in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo by jet dela cruz on Unsplash