Obtaining a Work Permit in Vietnam

Posted by Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Joyce Roque

Mar. 15 – Obtaining a work permit in a foreign country is considered a cumbersome and tricky process that involves compiling and verifying pertinent documents to submit to authorities.

In Vietnam, work permits are valid for a maximum of three years depending on the contract. Last year, there were 16,811 foreign employees hired in Ho Chi Minh City with valid work permits and 3,000 illegally employed foreigners.

Professional Service_CB icons_2015RELATED: Dezan Shira & Associates’ Payroll and Human Resources Services

Under the Labor Code draft submitted last year, foreign nationals working in the country for companies, organizations, or individuals must comply with certain conditions to qualify for a work permit. The conditions include the following:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess technical skills and knowledge appropriate to the type of of work and must be healthy to work
  • Is not a convicted criminal in Vietnam and other countries
  • Possess work permit granted by Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, except for those excluded as stipulate in Article 195 of the Labor Code

The Labor Code also stipulates conditions that allow companies to hire foreign employees:

  • Domestic enterprises, organizations, individuals and contractors can only hire foreign nationals for management positions including managing director and other technical expertise not available in the Vietnamese labor market
  • Foreign enterprises, organizations, individuals and contractors that need to hire foreign employees in the country must explain their demand for foreign employees and get approval in writing from an investment authorizing agency or an investor
  • Foreign nationals working for foreign enterprises, organizations, individuals, and contractors must have work permit granted by Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs.

Foreign employees in the country are required by law to present their work permit during immigration procedures and when required by authorized state agencies. Illegally employed foreign employees will automatically deported from the country and the hiring company penalized.

Foreign nationals are exempted from obtaining a work permit in cases wherein:

  • The foreign national is a member of limited liability company with two members and above
  • The foreign national is the owner of a limited liability company with only one member
  • The foreign national is a member of the board of a joint stock company
  • The foreign national is a manager of a representative office, project director, director of a foreign organization or a non-governmental organization
  • The foreign national is coming to Vietnam to market products and services
  • The foreign national is coming to Vietnam within three months to resolve complicated technical or technological problems that cannot be resolved by Vietnamese experts and foreign experts currently in the country
  • Foreign lawyers granted a professional permit in Vietnam

A  work permit may be terminated in the following:

  • Expiration of work permit
  • Termination of labor contract
  • The content of labor contract is not consistent with the granted work permit
  • Expiration or termination of the business, trade, finance, banking, insurance, science and technology, culture, sports, education, or medicine contracts
  • When foreign employer announced the termination of the foreign national working in Vietnam
  • Withdrawal of work permit by authorized state agencies
  • Termination of operation of the company, organization, and partners in Vietnam

A company is then advised to be in compliance with labor laws when it comes to fulfilling staffing needs in their Vietnamese subsidiary.

For professional advice on hiring issues in Vietnam email Dezan Shira & Associates country manager for Vietnam, Hoang Thu Huyen at vietnam@dezshira.com.

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New Regulation to Deport Foreigners Without Work Permits