I was sent this yesterday + thought I'd better spread the word concerning this latest grubby + shameful example of what we're exposed to by the total free-for-all the unregulated + state sponsored
'Visa Circus' foreign nationals in Vietnam have no choice but to get involved with. The fact that a visa extension can't be obtained by the subject him/herself is already placing that individual in a position where there is little that can be done to protect themself from all manner of dishonest + underhand sharp practice, the system as it is could quite reasonably be described as, is an open invitation to exploit any foreigner unfortunate enough to walk through the door. What the update, below, describes highlights this perfectly + begins as these transactions always must do, surrendering the most important document any foreign national possesses, namely, their passport, to a ''visa agent''. Visa agent is the very broadest of terms as the truth is that anyone with hands with which to take your passport, + a pocket to put it into, can call themself a 'visa agent', 'a person' is no more, or less, an accurate description. This 'person' then hands your passport over to some other 'person', in the update this 'other person' is unmasked + revealed to us ensuring he'll have nowhere to hide, we're told that he turned out to be someone who was working with the knowledge, or possibly without the knowledge, of someone who used to work, but no longer does, at the immigration office. Like I said, he can run but he can't hide! What also comes to light is how he came to be viewed as superior to all the other no doubt equally well qualified professionals, though unlikely to have the kind of inside-man connection our guy could offer, or ex inside-man, come to think of it, but what really swung it for him is that he simply won't be beaten on price, one of those guys that set the bar, he was the cheapest! This paved the way for as many as 1000 passports to find their way into the stamping department, where the stamp is + where events somehow allowed passports to be stamped, but not registered online, as this having ever being done. From the information we have my guess, that might explain how this could have gone on without being noticed, was a mass brawl involving the immigration guys, who we're told had, indeed, been fighting each other. This could, of course, be a perfectly legitimate inter-office boxing round robin, or maybe a Fight Club type of affair, my gut says it's more of a rivalry based, sporadic outbreak type fighting that can, on occasion, say, mid-afternoon post wet lunch when 2 guys settling a score can end up like a bar fight in a Dodge City saloon, this is speculation on my behalf as I know no more than the update provides. All that remains for me to point out is that in all the scandalous betrayal of duty + office the information provided shows exists, from top to bottom at every level, the only mention of anything that even suggests wrongdoing, or any type of punitive measure, are when 'fines' are spoken of, large + hefty, we're told + that seems only fair to me. Until I see who it is that these fines are possibly going to be imposed on, to the uninitiated it would beggar belief, the uninvolved could be forgiven for laughing, I'm due to extend my visa soon + the idea that my current stamp wasn't registered + some bully in a uniform penalising me as if a single shred of responsibility could be placed on my head, which aside from pure fantasy, it most definitely could not be, the idea of that is one I'd think would cause a less even-tempered fellow, than myself, to perhaps engage in a frank exchange of views with a border official who was trying to impose a fine. The strong ''coward gene'' I got from who knows where would no doubt kick in + prevent me from that kind of exchange, I'm sure is inevitable for some other folk, though, if there really are over 1000 victims + you start punishing them, the only truly innocents in the whole sorry affair, someone's bound to get upset..............................
***Shame on you people, you know who you are, you're a disgrace to your families + to the country whose good name you insult. Shame on you.***
Important Update: Be careful of travel agents who are willing to do visa extension for you in Saigon. I just received an email from one of my teachers at my company. My company and I are in the process of helping him with visa so to make sure He went to see an international lawyer to help out on changing his visa legally & to understand the visa process.
"Today I had a lawyer confirm that all of my visa extension stamps have been falsified and it’s likely that I’m not listed in the updated immigration system. It seems that many of the agents used the same source to process extensions, and some estimates are that over 1,000 foreigners have been affected by this. A note to pass on to any other teachers that have received an extension from an agent this year, is that it may be advisable to do a border run to Moc Bai than approach immigration here in the city or at the airport. The later may result in a hefty fine.
Many of the travel agents, popular cafes, hostels, and visa agents passed on the task of visa renewals to the person offering the lowest price. As far as it worked out, this turned out to be someone working with or without the knowledge of an ex employee of the immigration office, and in this case, it's mostly the 3 month extensions that were made unlawfully last year and this year.
It was with the change of the PM, chairman, head of congress that stricter security checks were implemented this year. lawyer said this issue is compounded by the fact that many of the immigration guys have been fighting each other, so while many in the stamping department may have performed legitimate renewals, about half have not been registered on the updated online database. While there appears to have been a cover up, immigration is still taking the opportunity to penalise everyone that has been caught up in it.
As immigration doesn't allow most foreigners to apply for extensions directly, there is a good chance that if someone is currently on an extended visa that they are implicated in this.
If other teachers are concerned about this, they can either go to immigration and expect the possibility of having their passport confiscated and a large fine demanded (at the airport also), or to exit at Moc Bai, and get an invitation letter for a new visa to reenter on. As I understand it Moc Bai operates differently and is not in sync with the new online system.