Vietnam Issues New Work Permit Regulations for Foreign Employees

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HANOI – The Vietnamese government has recently released a new Circular on the procedures a foreign worker must adhere to in order to be considered for a work permit.  Circular 03/2014 tightens the regulations for foreign workers seeking to come to Vietnam.

The Circular will take effect on March 10, 2014 and is intended to help guide the implementation of the proposed Government Decree 102/2013.

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

It appears that the new regulations are intended to help Vietnam’s government reduce the country’s unemployment level by managing the employment of foreign workers more efficiently. However, it remains to be seen what impact the new laws will have on the wider economy.  Foreign workers and foreign investment are playing an increasingly larger role in Vietnam’s economy and any move that seems to discriminate against foreigners could have the unintended effect of driving these people, and their money, to nearby countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

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The main thrust of the Circular requires companies looking to hire a foreign worker to submit a recruitment plan to the local Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs at least 30 days before hiring any foreign worker. The submitted plan must show:

  • The existing demand for the foreign worker(s);
  • The number of foreign worker(s) to be recruited;
  • The worker(s) qualifications, titles, work experience;
  • The worker(s) salary expectations;
  • The worker(s) periods of employment (not to exceed 2 years)
  • That the worker(s) have a clean criminal record
  • Worker(s) that will take a management position must show relevant documents which prove this (e.g. Work permit or a labor contract)
  • For a worker to be considered an expert in their field, they must fulfil one of the below requirements:
    • A document proving relevant qualifications (minimum allowed is a Bachelor’s degree) and at least five years work experience in the relevant field; or
    • A document from an authorized agency that certifies the worker as an expert.
  • For a worker to be considered a technical worker, they must fulfil the below requirements:
    • Provide a document or certificate that proves the worker has received at least one year of training in the technical field; and
    • Provide paperwork that shows that the worker has at least three years work experience in the field within which he/she will work in Vietnam.

If the applying company has already submitted an application, but would like to amend it, they should do so during the 30 day application period.

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The Circular states that, once the application is submitted, the local Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs must inform the company within 10 days as to whether the plan has been approved or not.

Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.

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