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Official Gazette

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Government seeks to improve cross-cultural marriage law

Updated: 16:13’ - 30/05/2011

Only 7% of cross-cultural marriages were love matches while a majority was based on financial considerations, revealed a survey conducted by the Labor and Social Science Institute.

The survey found that many Vietnamese women marrying foreigners considered their marriage a resort to improve their economic conditions as one-third of them came from poor families.

Some 75% of these women lived in families with five children or more and 86% had not passed primary education, the survey said.

The survey results were released at the first national conference on foreign-involved marriages and families held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho last month.

The conference assessed positive and negative social impacts of foreign-involved marriages and discussed solutions to tackling problems arising from this marriage relation, especially improvement of the legal framework.

According to Ministry of Justice statistics, from 1995 to the end of 2010, some 294,000 Vietnamese citizens had married foreigners. Eighty percent of them were women with their husbands coming mostly from Taiwan, South Korea, the US, China, Canada, Germany and France.

Nearly 80% of these Vietnamese brides came from Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta provinces, including Bac Lieu, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Can Tho, Tay Ninh, Soc Trang and An Giang. Can Tho alone had more than 13,000 foreign-involved marriages from 2005 to 2010, including over 8,000 registered overseas.

The survey noted that 60% of these marriages were made via illegal private brokerage.

Many Vietnamese parents had to live in compunction and anguish for marrying their daughters to foreigners because of financial considerations, Minister of Labor Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan told the conference, saying many women were exposed to mistreatment, violence or traffic for prostitute as a result of lack of information and understanding about their partners before marriage.

Deputy Minister of Labor Nguyen Thanh Hoa also pointed out that many rural girls regarded marrying a foreigner as a way to realize their parents’ dream of wealth, naively believing with a foreign husband they could lead a wealthy life and financially support their families at home. In reality, many were disillusioned for getting married to poor or disabled old men or became victims of sex or labor abuse, he said.

Deputy Minister of Justice Dinh Trung Tung also agreed that marriages  with foreigners had become a fashion for many rural women who readily married a man they did not know anything about, consequently confronting many Vietnamese brides with tragic family situations in which they could not receive any assistance and protection.

Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan pointed to “four withouts” of cross-cultural marriages in which involved parties did not know about each other: without love; and without knowing the native culture, customs and language; the health status and family circumstances of future partners.

To address this problem, he asked ministries and sectors to adopt comprehensive solutions to turn “four-withouts” into “five knowings”: knowing the native culture, customs and language; and health status and family circumstances of future partners; and knowing the law on marriage and family; and previous successful and unsuccessful marriages in order to build marriages based on love and understanding.

He asked the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate in completing the legal framework on foreign-involved marriage, introducing stricter sanctions to protect women’s rights and prevent illegal acts of making profit from cross-cultural marriages.

Deputy Minister Hoa suggested  enhancing communication to raise public awareness and eliminate illusions about marriage with foreigners, especially in rural areas, while increasing dissemination of the law on marriage and family.

Major-General Do Kim Tuyen, deputy general director of the General Department of Crime Control also agreed that information work was important and must be done frequently because most women wishing to marry foreigners lacked information and legal knowledge and were thus easily cheated.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Thanh Son proposed that the State introduce appropriate forms of matchmaking, allowing the operation of eligible matchmaking companies tied to their liabilities throughout the matchmaking process.

He also said the Ministry of Justice should review requirements on marriage-related papers, stressing that the health certificate and HIV testing result must be compulsory in marriage application dossiers.

Local justice agencies must require the presence of foreign grooms at the marriage registration ceremonies to ensure the principle of voluntary marriage, he said.

The Ministry of Justice proposed  revising legal documents on foreign-involved marriages, including the Penal Code which currently did not deal with illegal matchmakers. Under current regulations, illegal matchmaking was subject to a modest fine of VND 1.5-2 million (USD 70-100)/violation compared with some USD 10,000 earned by matchmakers for a successful marriage.

Deputy Minister of Justice Tung said the State should adopt clear policies on foreign-involved marriages, suggesting comprehensive assessment of issues arising from these marriages, including population relocation, gender imbalance; national security, employment for Vietnamese women and respect for personal civil rights.

Foreign-involved marriage is currently regulated by a number of legal documents, including the Law on Marriage and Family, Government Decree No. 68/2002/ND-CP, detailing this Law’s provisions on foreign-involved marriage, Government Decree No. 69/2006/ND-CP, revising Decree No. 68/2002/ND-CP, and Prime Minister Directive No. 03/2005/CT-TTg on increased state management of foreign-involved marriage and family relations.

At the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Nhan asked the Ministry of Justice to study and revise Decrees 68 and 69 for submission to the Government. He requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Public Security to formulate a regulation on provision of information on Vietnamese marrying foreigners as a basis for other ministries to advise the Government to make proposals on legal matters to countries with large numbers of Vietnamese brides.

He also asked the Ministry of Public Security to review the situation of women trafficking and illegal marriages with foreigners in the third quarter of this year. (VLLF) -



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