As many as 576 undocumented immigrants were granted Vietnamese citizenship at a ceremony held at the Ho Chi Minh City hall on July 9.
It has been reported that most of them came from Cambodia before 1979.
The ceremony was attended by Vu Anh Son, Resident Representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Vietnam, and some local senior justice officials.
“Since 2000, we have worked together with the Vietnamese government in granting citizenship to stateless people in Vietnam. After that, the government issued some policies including the amended law on Vietnamese nationality in 2008,” Son said.
“The new law is used most efficiently in HCMC. As a result, you can see hundreds of people in the city obtaining Vietnamese citizenship today,” he added.
According to the amended law on Vietnamese nationality signed in 2008 by the then Chairman of National Assembly Nguyen Phu Trong, undocumented people living in Vietnam for more than 20 years and complying with the country’s laws will be permitted to apply for Vietnamese citizenship.
61-year-old Peter Rolke, a half Vietnamese and half German by blood, told Tuoi Tre: “I’m very happy to be granted Vietnamese citizenship today. I want to earn money to find my ancestor in Germany because my German father left me when I was four.”
“Even if I obtained a German citizenship, I will not leave Vietnam because I was born here,” Peter, whose Vietnamese name is Lu Le, shared.
Nearby, Nguyen Thi Dai, 62, who was born in Cambodia with Vietnamese origin, looked happy, holding a certificate of Vietnamese citizenship in her hands. “I’m very delighted. The citizenship will allow me to legally buy anything such as a house,” she said.
Dang Kim Lan, a Buddhist nun at Phuoc Son pagoda in Dong Nai southern province who arrived in Vietnam from Cambodia in 1976, could not hide her happiness when she received the certificate.
“About 4 or 5 years ago, I applied for the Vietnamese citizenship at the HCMC Immigration Department but failed. So I’m very happy today and will try to be a good Vietnamese citizen,” Lan said.