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Viet Kieu having difficulty purchasing houses in Vietnam   2009-06-10 - NLD

Vietnamese living abroad, Viet Kieu, want more flexible and open policies on allowing them to purchase houses in Vietnam.


Many overseas Vietnamese want to buy houses in their homeland


Phu My Hung urban area

The list of Viet Kieu eligible to purchase houses in Vietnam has expanded as a result of the new citizenship law. It is estimated that 70 percent of the three million Viet Kieu can hold Vietnamese nationality if they want to.  Overseas Vietnamese who are Vietnamese citizens have full rights of Vietnamese citizens, including the right to own houses, according to the law.


Problems existing


A Viet Kieu in France related that when following formalities to register for the ownership of a house she purchased in Vietnam, relevant agencies asked her to present an identity card and ho khau (residence registration book). Meanwhile, she said the current regulations only require house buyers to show a passport. Everything is okay if passports are granted by Vietnamese agencies. However, if passports are granted by agencies in other countries, Viet Kieu have to show other documents, like citizenship registration papers, to prove they are Viet Kieu.

Duong Hung, a Viet Kieu in the US, believes that the number of Viet Kieu who have returned to Vietnam to do business is really big. Their business requires them to travel a lot. Therefore, the state needs to give a more detailed definition about what it means by ‘having a residence duration in Vietnam for three months and more’. If not, Hung said, problems may arise in defining the residence duration of Viet Kieu in Vietnam, because it is unclear if the duration is defined based on the actual staying period or on the time stipulated in the licence.


Hung has been in Vietnam for the last many years and has got a business registration certificate. However, when showing the certificate to complete procedures to purchase a house in Vietnam, the certificate was not accepted, and he was asked to show an investment certificate.

Moreover, analysts believe that limitations in the rights of Viet Kieu with their houses will make them hesitant to buy houses in Vietnam. Viet Kieu are not allowed to use houses to make capital contributions to businesses and to use the houses as mortgaged assets for bank loans. Houses are really investments; if people cannot get at their money when they have a demand they may invest in another channel.


Policies need to be open


The policy on allowing Viet Kieu to purchase houses in Vietnam has been valid for eight years. However, to date, only some 130 Viet Kieu have purchased houses in Vietnam, mostly in Hanoi and HCM City. There have not been any official statistics released about how many Viet Kieu have a demand to purchase houses in Vietnam and what kinds they want.


In a recent interview given to the local press, Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Tran Nam said that the policies need to be adjusted to make it more open so as to create more favourable conditions for Viet Kieu to purchase houses in Vietnam.


When asked about the number of houses Viet Kieu are allowed to purchase in Vietnam, Nam said that the current regulations do not set a limit on the number of houses.

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