The foreign ministry has urged overseas Vietnamese wishing to go home to be cautious and only rely on official channels to get tickets for repatriation flights.
Vietnamese citizens stranded in the UK helped with necessary procedures before the flight took off from Heathrow international airport, London, on July 12.
Spokesperson for Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang made the statement on Thursday during a press briefing held in Hanoi in response to questions over reports of many Vietnamese abroad falling victims to scams as they were desperate to get home as COVID-19 pandemic situation in many countries have worsened.
The foreign ministry has discussed the issue with the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, the main operator of the special repatriation flights, Hang said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, when the Vietnamese Government started to organise repatriation flights to bring back stranded citizens, Vietnamese diplomatic missions overseas have announced on their websites detailed information and necessary registration procedures to secure seats on these limited flights, Hang said.
Vietnamese citizens wishing to go home must register with Vietnamese diplomatic missions in their host countries.
After consultation with Vietnamese domestic authorities, the missions will compile a list of eligible citizens for the flight and send emails to each successfully registered person with details on ticket purchase procedures, Hang added.
“One piece of advice from us to all Vietnamese citizens abroad to safeguard their legitimate interests is that, should they wish to return to Vietnam, they should adhere to the guidance of the diplomatic missions in their host countries, and only purchase the tickets when they have received an email from the diplomatic missions saying that they could now purchase a flight ticket,” Hang said.
She also urged Vietnamese citizens abroad to report scams so Vietnamese authorities can handle the issue.
Since March 22, Vietnam has sealed off its border to foreign arrivals as a result of the pandemic, with only a few exceptions applied, for example, returning Vietnamese and a limited number of highly-skilled foreign workers or foreign investors.
Also in a notice released the same day, Vietnam Airlines said all its genuine information is sent from emails ending with '@vietnamairlines.com' and citizens must not purchase the flights home from suspicious people or send money to personal banking accounts.
Flight details, ticket prices, payment manners and related information will be sent to eligible citizens from the diplomatic missions, the notice said.
Since April 10, 55 repatriation flights have been conducted, bringing home 13,323 Vietnamese citizens stranded overseas, the spokesperson said.
Vietnamese ministries and Vietnamese representatives overseas will continue to organise these flights, taking into account citizens’ requests and quarantine capacity in the country, Hang continued.
Under directives from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, priority will be given to the elderly, the sick, students without dormitories due to school closures or those who have completed their courses, labourers whose contracts have expired, or stranded tourists.
Vietnam's COVID-19 situation remains largely under control currently, with no new domestic community transmission cases for three months now and zero confirmed deaths so far. VNS
The Prime Minister has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to draw up plans to bring home Vietnamese nationals stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with priority given to the elderly, the sick and people under 18.