Quarantine rules and costly airfares keep Vietnamese expats in Germany
Brussels (Brussels Morning) For the vast majority of Vietnamese expats in Germany, returning home has become too expensive and too complicated, faced as they are by a combination of exorbitant airfare prices and multiple bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, Deutsche Welle reports.
Vietnamese citizens looking to return home from Germany must first register on a waiting list by contacting their embassy and filling out a form. The ensuing wait can take months since there are only one or two repatriation flights scheduled each month from Germany.
Added to this, priority is given only to those with urgent needs — primarily those holding soon-to-expire residence permits or visas, or graduating students. Those with permanent residency status find themselves regularly pushed to the back of the queue, given that they stand to face fewer consequences if required to wait and remain longer in Germany.
Compounding the bureaucratic dilemma, the cost of the trip has also risen beyond the reach of most Vietnamese citizens, particularly those without significant savings. As Nga Nguyen told DW, her family’s plans to visit their ill grandmother in Vietnam fell through having been informed that their airfare plus added costs will come to 4,300 euro per person — more than four times the price of a roundtrip before the pandemic.
The airfare itself had soared in price, reflecting the scarcity of available seats and the high demand, but the added costs also stem from mandatory quarantine rules now in force in Vietnam, which require all arrivals to remain in quarantine for 14 days.
Citizens can opt to enter a cheap but rustic, 70-euro quarantine at an army camp, or opt for quarantine in a hotel, which can cost anywhere from 700 to 2,600 euro for the 14 days. Those planning to return to Germany after their visit are also looking at an additional 600–700 euro cost for a return ticket.
The price and the complications have deterred most Vietnamese who have no urgent need of leaving Germany to remain where they are. Instead, they nurse hopes that coronavirus restrictions in Vietnam will ease up in the near future, and that the number of flights to East Asia will soon increase, offering reduced airfares.