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Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City will grant new work permits to foreigners from pandemic-hit countries

by Linka Nguyen

The Vietnam’s largest city of Ho Chi Minh city is asking approval to grant new work permits to foreign experts or highly skilled workers arriving from COVID-19-affected countries and territories, especially those in charge of the two metro lines in the city.

A number of foreign experts have not been granted entry to Vietnam or granted work permits due to the outbreak, said Võ Văn Hoan, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee.

“Foreign experts, business managers or highly skilled workers who will be allowed entry to Vietnam may continue to work on key projects in the city to meet work schedules, but they must be under quarantine (for a specific period) upon arrival to prevent the spread of the virus.”

The municipal authorities has asked its Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to offer advice so that a report can be sent to the Prime Minister about the plan.

The department is also expected to provide a report to the city on the renewal of work permits to foreign experts who entered the country.

For the first metro line, foreign experts, especially those from Japan, have not been able to enter Vietnam, according to Hoan.

A train meant for the Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien Metro Line in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR).

Final technical inspections for the first trains ordered for metro line No. 1 are completed, and the trains are ready to be delivered to Vietnam, according to the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways.

The completion rate of the entire first metro line has reached more than 72 per cent. The line is expected to reach 85 per cent of its workload by the end of this year, according to the authority.

The city aims to put the line into operation by the end of 2021. Since construction began in 2012, the line has faced many problems, including slow fund disbursement and a personnel crisis.

The line, which is nearly 19.7km long with total investment of VNĐ46.3 trillion (US$1.97 billion), has 14 stations (11 elevated stations and three underground stations) running through districts 1, 2, 9, Bình Thạnh and Thủ Đức and neighboring Bình Dương Province.

For metro line No. 2 (Bến Thành – Tham Lương), the city People’s Committee asked a steering committee and government agencies to speed up compensation and resettlement for residents in District 3.

In March, HCM City suspended the granting of new work permits to foreign workers arriving from COVID-19-affected countries and territories as part of its efforts to control the pandemic.

If returning to the city from pandemic-hit countries, foreigners granted work permits must undergo medical checks according to current regulations and follow quarantine requirements given by the local authority.

Those who apply to renew their work permit must have a valid passport showing they have not left the city since February 1, and have a health certificate issued as of February 11. — VNS

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