THE Qatari authorities have not stopped issuing visas to Vietnamese workers and the economic ties between the two countries have been growing steadily, Vietnamese Ambassador Phung The Long said yesterday.
“I have been told by senior Qatari officials at the Ministry of Interior that there was no such thing and in fact, I can tell you that many employers in the engineering, construction and oil and gas sectors are seeking to recruit Vietnamese workforce,” the ambassador said.
He was speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of a community programme held to mark the traditional Vietnamese lunar new year, which begins on January 26.
Late last year, media reports in Vietnam had said that Qatar had stopped issuing visas to Vietnamese workers because some had become notorious for robbing their compatriots, fighting, gambling and illegally making alcohol.
The media had also reported that a gang of about 50 Vietnamese had committed armed robberies against their compatriots and stolen their money and mobile telephones, adding that Qatar had informed Vietnamese diplomats in Doha of the visa suspension, but the report did not cite any officials by name, and it did not specify when the ban started or how long it would last.
In his reaction to the report, the ambassador said that authorities here had confirmed that since the establishment of the Vietnamese embassy in Qatar, Vietnamese had been mostly law-abiding and their reputation had greatly improved.
He said relations between the two countries had improved with a labour agreement signed in January 2008, adding that he looked forward to an increase in the Vietnamese workforce in Qatar.
Long said there was tremendous growth in the last year in terms of enterprise and contract agreements between Qatari investors and Vietnam, adding that he was hopeful that the momentum would continue.
There are over 6,000 Vietnamese currently in Qatar, according to the consul-third secretary Mau Tien Duong.
At the new year celebration, the ambassador and other senior embassy officials and community members burnt joss-sticks in memory of Vietnam’s founding father Ho Chi Minh.
They later listened to the state broadcast of a new year goodwill message by President Nguyen Minh Triet.
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