We have been going through a lot of changes as far as how welcoming Vietnam is towards long-term residents. Prior to Covid this country seemed to be quite content to allow people to stay here as long as they wanted provided they didn't get into any trouble. To me this always made economic sense because the foreigners who chose to live here in this fashion were either retired or working online for an overseas company yet they were spending all of it in this country. For most countries, especially poorer ones like Vietnam, this seems like a dream situation: You've got a relatively affluent group of thousands of people that are spending money made out of country and putting it into the local economy. Seems like a dream but then again, I am sure there is more to the picture than this.
After Covid started to die down as far as panic and lockdowns are concerned we started to see a lot of mostly negative changes to the visa system in this country. Well, negative if you are someone like me that has just been riding never-ending tourist visas - and subsequently paying for them.
these were wonderful and cost about $100 a year
The never ending visa isn't really a thing anymore and people are being forced to do dreaded visa runs that take several days and involve getting into a van and traveling to Cambodia or Laos, then either spending a night or coming straight back. The process used to involve getting a letter or a guarantee of sorts before you ever went on the visa run. This put a level of confidence in the travelers because once they had this document, it was basically ensured that you were going to be let back in. There is no fear greater than standing in that line trying to get back in to some country knowing that all of your belongings are on the other side and that there is a chance the answer is going to be "no."
4 friends of mine who all arrived in this country around the same time applied for this document through an agent in the past week. They have all been here around the same amount of time, were all stuck here during Covid, and all have been paying for visa extensions in the same manner.
3 of the people got their E-visa document without issue. The other person was denied his and there was no explanation as to why that is. I'm trying to put the pieces together about what the reasoning could be. The 3 that were accepted are British and American; the guy that was denied is Australian.
Now he has to fly to Cambodia, a country that is basically letting anyone in right now, and then re-apply at the Vietnamese embassy. It remains unknown whether or not he is going to be allowed back in at all.
This is disheartening to me because I know this guy very well. He doesn't "rock the boat" and is mainly a guy that keeps to himself most of the time. He goes on walks and visits pubs and restaurants and for the most part is a quiet guy that never bothers anyone. Of the 3 people that had their E-visas approved, one of them runs a shop and he works there illegally without a work-permit.
This is why I am thinking that the decision about who to approve and who not to approve seems completely random. Like there is some sort of rejection quota that Immigration is being forced to apply. The only other thing that it could be is that there is some sort of squabble between Australia and Vietnam - which is suppose is always possible because I've been to Australia and I have never been treated so badly by Immigration as I was there. Perhaps this is retribution of some sort.
Either way, I can't really understand the motivation of denying people visas right now when the economy of this country is in relative shambles. This fear is also going to encourage more people to simply not adhere to immigration law and simply overstay visas indefinitely.