Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - Vietnam

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 June 2000
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - Vietnam , 1 June 2000, available at: [accessed 13 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


At the end of 1999, Vietnam continued to host an estimated 15,000 refugees from Cambodia. Of those, some 13,000 were ethnic Vietnamese who arrived between 1993 and 1995. About 2,000 were ethnic Chinese who arrived between 1978 and 1980. The legal status of Cambodians in Vietnam was that of "alien." However, they were allowed to work and had access to public health and education services. Because of the stable conditions in which the refugees lived, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ended assistance to Cambodian refugees in Vietnam in 1994.

About 292,000 Vietnamese (mostly ethnic Chinese) refugees remained in China, including nearly 1,000 in Hong Kong. Another 29 Vietnamese refugees or asylum seekers were in Cambodia. Small numbers of Vietnamese refugees or asylum seekers also lived in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan.

Repatriation to Vietnam

In 1999, under the terms of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indochinese Refugees, UNHCR continued to monitor and assist returnees. The Vietnamese government provided some reintegration assistance to supplement the UNHCR cash allowances (the equivalent of $240 U.S. dollars per person) for eligible returnees. UNHCR also provided teaching materials and medical kits to needy primary schools and local dispensaries. No nongovernmental organizations provided assistance directly to returnees during the year.

In July, the European Union (EU) ended a nine-year reintegration assistance program in Vietnam, calling it a success. The EU formerly provided vocational training, small loans, scholarships, and humanitarian support. The director of the program acknowledged that returnees still faced economic hardship, however.

UNHCR monitored more than 40 percent of the returnee population between 1989 and 1999. During the year, UNHCR conducted missions to monitor 242 returnees in Hai Phong and Quang Ninh provinces. In addition to these missions, UNHCR met or received more than 400 returnees at its office in Hanoi and responded to numerous letters.

The monitoring indicated that most reintegration problems were related to poverty and to obtaining household registration from local authorities (under Vietnamese law, a person can be a legal resident only through registration of his or her household). UNHCR found no indications of persecution or other reprisals toward the returnees. UNHCR said it would terminate its monitoring activities at the beginning of 2000 but would continue receiving returnees at its Hanoi office and would reply to questions concerning reintegration.

U.S. Resettlement

The United States continued to offer resettlement to some former Vietnamese asylum seekers who returned home. Under the Resettlement Opportunities for Vietnamese Returnees (ROVR) program, eligible returnees to Vietnam were re-interviewed for possible U.S. resettlement. Some 7,525 Vietnamese were admitted to the United States through ROVR in fiscal year 1999, which ended September 30. Officials said about 600 people had yet to be interviewed. The program was expected to be completed by the end of 2000.

In addition to ROVR, the U.S. Orderly Departure Program (ODP) included sub programs for Amerasians, former reeducation camp prisoners, and "regular" ODP applicants (including persons who served with the U.S. military). More than 2,300 people resettled in the United States under the ODP during U.S. fiscal year 1999, which ended September 30. These included some 240 Amerasians (who were granted immigrant visas) and their family members; 300 former re-education camp detainees and family members; and about 1,800 others, primarily those admitted under the "McCain Amendment" for adult children of formerly admitted refugees.

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