Vietnam Working Permit

The number of foreign laborers coming to Vietnam has steadily increased in recent years, surging to over 88,000 workers at the end of 2012. The large majority of foreign workers that come to Vietnam are employees of foreign contractors, working for, or establishing, foreign direct investment (FDI) projects.

A Vietnamese entity is permitted to recruit foreign workers in order to work as managers, executive directors and experts where local hires are not yet able to meet production and business requirements. Unlike in certain other Asian countries, Vietnamese representative offices are also able to hire staff directly.

To demonstrate the necessity of a foreign employee, thirty days prior to recruiting the foreign employee, the entity must publicly announce recruitment for this position to Vietnamese job seekers in a Vietnamese newspaper or online portal. Evidence of this announcement must be presented in the application for a work permit for a foreign employee. The other option is to recruit foreigners through a government-owned employment service center.

When hiring foreign staff in Vietnam, there are a number of procedures and legal frameworks that must be understood. In this article, we discuss the documents necessary for a foreign worker in Vietnam, including:

  • Visas;
  • Work Permits;
  • Temporary Residence Cards.

Visas 

In order to enter Vietnam, a foreigner needs a visa issued by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. A Vietnamese visa can be granted while in a third-party country or from within Vietnam. Citizens of Asian Pacific countries receive a free entry visa to Vietnam that lasts between 15 and 30 days. However, to work in Vietnam and remain for an extended period, foreigners need to apply for a longer-term three-month multiple entry visa.

RELATED: Vietnam, Myanmar Ease Visa Restrictions

Relevant visa types include:

  • B2- For execution of investment projects already licensed by Vietnamese state agencies;
  • B3- For work with Vietnamese enterprises;
  • B4- For work at representative offices or branches of economic, culture, or other professional organizations of foreign countries, or work with a Vietnam-based non-governmental organizations.

Work Permits

In most cases, a work permit is required when working in Vietnam for more than three months. Where a work permit is not compulsory, a notice must be submitted seven days in advance to the provincial Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (DoLISA) prior to working in Vietnam. Currently, work permits for foreigners are valid for a maximum of three years.

Authorities are becoming more strict regarding work permits. Those who violate the regulations by working in Vietnam without a work permit may be penalized or, if unable to meet work permit requirements, deported back to their home countries.

In order to be eligible for a work permit, the applicant must comply with the following conditions:

  • At least 18 years of age;
  • In good enough health to satisfy job requirements;
  • A manager, executive director or expert with technical skills and knowledge necessary for the job;
  • Not currently subject to criminal prosecution or any criminal sentence in Vietnam or overseas, or have a criminal record.

A work permit may be terminated in the following circumstances:

  • Expiration of work permit;
  • Termination of labor contract;
  • The content of the labor contract is not consistent with the work permit granted;
  • If the foreign employee is fired by the foreign employer;
  • Withdrawal of work permit by authorized state agencies;
  • Termination of operation of the company, organization, and partners in Vietnam;
  • The foreigner is sentenced to prison, dies or is proclaimed missing by court.

The following situations exempt the foreigner from needing a work permit:

  • Working in Vietnam for less than three months;
  • A member of a limited liability company with two or more members;
  • The owner of a limited liability company with only one member;
  • A member of the board of a joint stock company;
  • Coming to Vietnam to market products and services;
  • Coming to Vietnam for less than three months in order to resolve an emergency or technologically complex situation that could affect production which Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam are unable to resolve;
  • Lawyers granted a professional permit in Vietnam;
  • Heads of representative offices, chiefs of project offices or someone working for foreign non-government organization in Vietnam;
  • Internally transferred within an enterprise which has a commercial presence in the committed service list of Vietnam with the World Trade Organization, including: business service, information service, construction services, distribution service, education service, environment service, financial service, health service, tourism service, cultural and recreational services and transportation service;
  • Coming to Vietnam to supply consulting services on tasks serving to research, build, appraise, monitor and evaluate, manage and process programs and projects that use Official Development Assistance (ODA) in accordance with regulations or agreements in an international treaty on ODA signed between an authorized Vietnam agency and foreign agency.

Temporary Residence Cards

Foreigners who hold work permits valid for one year or more, as well as senior management, can be granted a Temporary Residential Card (TRC). A TRC is issued by the immigration agency under the Ministry of Public Security, and will be valid from 1 to 5 years. People granted a TRC can enter and exit Vietnam without a visa within the valid terms of their TRC.

Holders of a B2, B3, or B4 visa are eligible for a Temporary Residence Card, as well as members of management boards, members of councils and boards of directors, heads of company branches and Chief Representatives of representative offices of foreign enterprises in Vietnam.

 

WORK PERMIT FOR FOREIGNERS IN VIETNAM

Work permit in Vietnam is issued by the Department of Labor, Invalid and Society. It is valid for a period of 36 months (3 years). After it is expired; foreigners have to reapply for a renewal permit.  

REQUIREMENTS:

In order to apply for a work permit, you must meet the following conditions:

 Over 18 years old and have adequate health condition to match the demand of the job.
 High degree of specialized knowledge, qualification and technology; experienced in management, business and other professions that the domestic labors cannot currently conduct efficiently.
› If foreigners want to work in special jobs in education or health, they are required to meet all requirements of conducting health and education work of the Vietnamese authorities.
› Have no criminal record in their living country, Vietnam or other countries; being not under any warrant of arrest or jailing by the Vietnamese or foreign policemen.

EXEMPTION:

Foreigners in Vietnam are required to have a valid work permit, except one of these circumstances:

 Working in Vietnam for less than 3 months
› In a company’s board of the corporation that is created under the regulation of the Vietnamese government.
› Head of the representative office or branch of an international company in Vietnam
› Entering and working in Vietnam to resolve the emergent errors or situation that the Vietnamese labors or current foreign workers in Vietnam cannot solve.
› Lawyers that are given permission by the Vietnamese Department of Justice.

HOW TO APPLY: 

The process of applying or renewing a work permit for foreigners in Vietnam includes 2 main steps:

Step 1: Completing the application form and submiting it at the municipal office of Department of Labor, Invalid and Society. The application consists of:

› A filled form of applying for the work permit
› Work application or confirmation of work change (by the employers).
› The judicial profile issued by the authority of the resident country or the municipal office of Justice in Vietnam (if have lived in Vietnam for more than 6 months)
› The autobiographical profile with photo
› Health certificate issued in residential country or in Vietnam
› Copies of qualifications or professional certificates or confirmation of qualifications by authorized offices
› 3 color photos (3x4cm) that has been taken within 1 year.

Step 2: Coming to the submission center and collecting the work permit. 

PROCESSING TIME AND FEE:

The processing time is 15 working days.

Fee: Fee for a work permit application in Vietnam varies with three major levels:

 For new applicants: VND400, 000/permit (USD 20).
 For re-issued work permits: VND 300,000/permit (USD15).
› For renewal work permits: VND 200,000/permit (USD 10).

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