Hanoi Massive Community used to be a buzzing Facebook group where trolls ran rampant and expats posted rooms for rent or looked for teaching work.
Now, it’s ghost town. Most posts are made by Vietnamese renting rooms, or foreigners selling half empty bottles of shampoo before going back to their countries. No…one…comments.
Instead, you’ll see these Facebook groups: Bye Bye Vietnam, VN Expats Considering Mexico, etc.
So…What happened to the foreigners? Why has Vietnam radically changed their visa policies?
First off, Vietnam elected a new president…and he means business. Nguyen Xuan Phuc swears to eliminate corruption in Vietnam. This includes foreigners working illegally on tourist visas.
Back in June, Lê Thị Thu Hằng, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, finally acknowledged there have been MAJOR changes to Vietnam’s immigration policy due to Covid-19. They’re doing everything in their power to ensure the safety and security of foreigners in Vietnam.
Hmm…I’m gonna play devil’s advocate here. hehe
Major changes to immigration policies apparently include changing the cost of a three month, $25 tourist visa to $300 at the start of a pandemic when no one was able to leave Vietnam! Yeah…I wish I was making this up. Vietnam closed it’s doors to foreigners on March 22, 2020. Unscrupulous Vietnamese visa agents, once realizing tourists couldn’t leave, decided to increase the price of tourist visas to line their pockets.
The visa fees were eventually waived from March 1, 2020 until May 30, 2021.
Still, most tourists didn’t take the hint and kept working illegally at language centers.
Then the fees were waived again until July 31, 2021. Now people are bi$ching and moaning about not being given enough time to leave the country.
Vietnam Travel’s website states the following:
I know this opinion will not be popular, but Vietnam never struck me as the type of country that wanted foreigners there. We were tolerated and used at best. Shiny new toys for language schools to play with so they could make a buck.
Even though I had a work visa; I got the hell out in December 2019 because I could feel the shift in attitude. The good experiences I had in Vietnam were few and far between. I can only recall five people who never tried to scam me.
The sweet-faced grandmother in Hoi An market. She was the only person in the market who charged me the same as everyone else. She’s the reason why I can count and shop in Vietnamese. She’d drill me on market vocabulary.
Dear Pham who paid me the same as the white teachers at the going rate of $25/hour in Hanoi (back in 2017). She also told Vietnamese parents to take their children to another center if they had a problem with me.
Pham had my back.
You see even though some language centers hired teachers of color, they were not paid at the same rate as white teachers. Now, I fully understand paying a lower rate to non-native teachers. However paying an Asian-American teacher $15 an hour while paying a white American teacher $25 an hour is just plain wrong, Vietnam.
There are the guys who run Hol****d. Sorry, everyone. It’s an underground punk venue in Communist Vietnam. The name will not be shared to protect them. They always made me feel welcomed as we moshed in the pit. Hanoi has a thriving punk scene in case you didn’t know.
The super nice landlords I had in Hoi An and Da Nang. No issues there and they even brought me food to try. Yum!
Personally, I don’t blame Vietnam for kicking out the foreigners working illegally there. They’ve been given fair warning and shouldn’t have waited until the last minute to leave.
Also a lot of these centers hired foreigners under the table to avoid paying taxes. What did you expect? That you could hop-in and out of Vietnam forever???? Get drunk at bia hois (beer halls) and bang local chicks every weekend?
Sorry, buddy. It’s time to go back to Portland and get a real job. The new government wants their tax money. They’re sick of your smug attitude in their country and they want you to leave. IMO it has little to do with Covid-19. It’s all monetarily motivated.
Vietnam is a complex country. Regardless of racist hiring practices, scammers, drugged up bus drivers, drunk Karens/Kens, and crazy road traffic…There’s a charm to the country which I can’t deny.
I’ve given you the good, the bad and the ugly. Vietnam, I still f**king love you…but you broke my heart and I will never in life return.
Are you an expat who lived in Vietnam? Are you part of the mass exodus? Please share your story on visa price changes. I know they went up drastically once Vietnam declared a state of emergency. I’d love to hear from you!
Where to next…somewhere in Europe? Care to take a guess?