Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2001 - Vietnam

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 20 June 2001
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2001 - Vietnam , 20 June 2001, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
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 16,000 refugees from Cambodia. Of those, some 13,000 were ethnic Vietnamese who arrived between 1990 and 1995 and were living in Mekong Delta provinces. Another 2,945 were ethnic Chinese who arrived in the late 1970s and early 1980s and resided in four refugee camps established by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1979 in Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc provinces and in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

The legal status of Cambodians in Vietnam was that of "alien." However, the refugees were allowed to work and had access to public health and education services. Because of the stable conditions in which the refugees lived, UNHCR ended assistance to Cambodian refugees in Vietnam in 1994. During 2000, the Vietnamese government began considering ways to enable the refugees from Cambodia to become citizens of Vietnam.

Four asylum seekers (a family of two from Algeria, one person from Liberia, and one person from China) approached UNHCR during the year for refugee status determination. UNHCR did not grant refugee status to any of them.

Some 292,000 refugees from Vietnam (mostly ethnic Chinese) remained in China, including nearly 1,000 in Hong Kong. In June, Hong Kong closed Pillar Point, the world's last remaining camp for Vietnamese refugees. Five months earlier, the local Hong Kong government announced that it would allow 1,400 Vietnamese remaining in Hong Kong, including the nearly 1,000 with refugee status, to apply for permanent residence in the territory.

Some 2,800 Vietnamese refugees remained in Japan with temporary residence at the end of 2000. Small numbers of Vietnamese refugees or asylum seekers lived in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Repatriation to Vietnam

During 2000, some 25 Vietnamese refugees repatriated to Vietnam under the terms of the Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) for Indochinese Refugees. Of those, 15 returned from Thailand, 9 from Hong Kong, and 1 from Indonesia.

UNHCR provided new returnees a package of reintegration assistance but no longer monitored the returnees. Between 1989 and 1999, UNHCR monitored more than 40 percent of the returnee population and found no indications of persecution or other reprisals.

The Vietnamese government provided limited reintegration assistance to returnees, who were also eligible for hunger and poverty programs that benefit all Vietnamese.

U.S. Resettlement

The United States continued to offer resettlement to some former Vietnamese asylum seekers who returned home. Under the Resettlement Opportunity for Vietnamese Returnees (ROVR) program, eligible returnees to Vietnam were re-interviewed for possible U.S. resettlement. Some 754 Vietnamese were admitted to the United States through ROVR in fiscal year 2000, which ended on September 30. Officials said about 105 people (50 cases) had yet to be interviewed. The United States expected to complete the program by the end of fiscal year 2001.

The United States also processed residual cases from the former U.S. Orderly Departure Program (ODP), which included sub-programs for former reeducation camp prisoners, former U.S. government employees, and Amerasians (who are granted immigrant visas but are eligible for refugee benefits). During fiscal year 2000, the United States admitted 982 Amerasians (including their family members), about 400 former re-education camp prisoners, 434 immediate relatives of previously admitted refugees and persons granted asylum, and some 1,200 persons admitted under the "McCain Amendment" for adult children of formerly admitted refugees. The total number of persons admitted under ROVR and the ODP programs was 3,791.

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