Rules seen clearer for Viet Kieu housing ownership

24 Jul
Vnre.blogspot.comOverseas Vietnamese or Viet Kieu will be offered favorable conditions for buying a property in their homeland in the coming time under new regulations in the Decree 71/2010/ND-CP, which will take effect on August 8.
“Unlike previous rules providing a general frames, new regulations are clearer, offering more favorable conditions for Viet Kieu who wants to buy a property in Vietnam,” lawyer Truong Thi Hoa told the Daily when asked on Tuesday for a comment on the new decree.

Accordingly, Viet Kieu can buy or receive an unlimited number of houses as gift and inheritance if they are of Vietnamese citizenship and their Vietnamese passports are valid. In case they are Vietnamese descendants and hold foreign passports, they must produce one of the documents certified by authorized organizations proving that they are Vietnamese.

In addition, they should be either direct investors, or those recognized to have made contributions to the country, or cultural activists, scientists, highly-skilled people and those whose spouses are Vietnamese.

Hoa cited the Law of Nationality saying that to benefit from the new policy, they have to register to continue holding their Vietnamese nationality before July 2014 once their Vietnamese passports are invalid as of July 2009.

She highlighted a new provision in the new decree, saying it allows Viet Kieu to receive a transfer of land use right in housing projects developed by real estate companies to build houses for their own and families in Vietnam.

“This helps create an equal platform for homebuyers who are both Viet Kieu and locals,” Hoa says.

The lawyer, however, wondered whether Viet Kieu can access bank loans, like locals, to buy their properties or not. The new decree does not mention that.

“I think they should be allowed to access loans because it is not all Viet Kieu who are rich enough to buy houses in Vietnam without having financial support,” Hoa said, adding that is the way encouraging them to bring money from abroad to the country.

However, those who are not in the above group will only be allowed to buy a single house or apartment in Vietnam, and when they receive another property as a gift they can give or sell to others for money.

The lawyer noted a limitation in the decree saying that for those who are allowed to own a single property, once they are found violating the regulation, they will be forced to resell their properties within 120 days. That means they will be stripped of their housing ownership in Vietnam.

Tran Hoa Phuong, vice chairman of the Overseas Vietnamese Committee in HCMC, told the Daily on the phone that he was upbeat about the new decree as it helped concretize procedures to translate the issue into reality, as well as to create a clear mechanism for Viet Kieu buying houses in Vietnam.

“Many of them have bought houses in the country under their relatives’ name for years,” Phuong said.

Phuong said the committee had plans to inform the new regulations to Viet Kieu living in countries around the world in the coming time.

According to a preliminary statistic released late last year, there are some four million overseas Vietnamese living in 100 countries around the world. Some half of them used to live in HCMC. Last year, oversea remittance was recorded at US$6.8 billion.

Reported by Dinh Dung/ The Saigon Times Daily

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