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Viet Kieu return to city for Tet celebrations

HCM City (VNA) - Nearly 700 overseas Vietnamese met with relatives and friends on Sunday (Jan,11) during an annual pre-Tet gathering in Ho Chi Minh City .

The get-together, held by the HCM City Association for Liaisons with Overseas Vietnamese, at the Lang Toi tourist site in district 2, offered city expatriates a chance to meet and enjoy entertainment and cultural activities.

Participants visited an outdoor exhibition of calligraphic works and sampled traditional food while listening to folk songs and nostalgic melodies.

Dr Luong Bach Van, chairwoman of the association, said last year around 15,000 overseas Vietnamese returned home to celebrate the traditional lunar New Year, or Tet holiday.

The city’s expatriate community has invested some 40 billion VND (2.4 million USD) in small-scale projects, as well as encouraged relatives and friends abroad to contribute 6 billion VND (352,941 USD) to charity and social activities.

Van said the association also planned to introduce overseas Vietnamese professionals to local schools and institutes and help young expatriate businesspeople complete business registration procedures, seek human resources, and protect their legitimate rights.

The association, established in 2006, and comprising a network of liaison boards in all 24 city’s districts, will set up a Centre for Support of Overseas Vietnamese to give a helping hand to expats as they return home and cement their affinity with local residents, she added.

The liaison boards have received input from the expat community and helped create a link between overseas Vietnamese and local agencies.

As overseas Vietnamese return to the country, the boards would inform them about policies on visa waivers, the Nationality Law, the Inheritance Law, and the Law on Land and Housing Ownership, among others, she said.

Expats will also receive assistance in exploring business opportunities and settling down in Vietnam .

“This has positively changed the awareness the society has held with overseas Vietnamese,” she said.

There are currently 3.5 million Vietnamese living in 94 countries and territories worldwide, 300,000 of whom are academics who hold key positions at world-renowned institutes and universities.

Figures from the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese show that the expat community has spent 603 million USD on 132 projects in Vietnam , with 45 projects invested in by Vietnamese-Americans.

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