Vietnam: Work Permit issues

Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 152”) came into effect on 15 February 2021 and made the conditions for obtaining a work permit (“WP”) stricter.

The procedure:
Only an enterprise or organisation registered in Vietnam (the “sponsor”) can apply for the WP. The sponsor must:
1. publish the need for a specific recruitment on a website for around 3-4 weeks. This is not requested by all authorities.
2. apply for the approval letter on employing foreigners for the specific position at least 30 days before the commencement of employment. This approval letter mentions the specific positions, not the person.
3. apply for the WP at least 15 days prior to the commencement of the intended working time. Some of the required documents must be legalised in the country of issuance. This can be time-consuming.
4. apply for the working visa or temporary resident card.

The conditions are:
The foreigner wishing to work in Vietnam must be at least 18 years of age, have good health for working, currently have no criminal issues and meet certain requirements on qualification and working experience. These are the types of WP:
1. Manager: the person in charge of managing the organisation.
2. Executive Director: the person directly administering affiliated units of the organisation.
3. Specialist: has a bachelor’s degree or higher and at least three years of relevant working experience. Or has a practicing certificate and at least five years of relevant working experience.
4. Technical Labour: has been trained in a technical or another relevant discipline for at least one year and has at least three years of relevant working experience. Or shall have at least five years of working experience that is suitable for the intended working position.

Work permit exemption
For some cases, no WP is required but a written confirmation on being exempted from the WP requirement. In the case of a complex technical or technological incident that affects or threatens to affect the business operation in Vietnam, the foreigner can work in Vietnam without a WP. The condition is that no foreigner who is already in Vietnam and no Vietnamese can handle the problem and the authority confirms the exemption. Regularly, this will be confirmed if the application has been drafted properly. The WP exemption is limited until the problem is solved but no longer than 3 months. This is practically the most important case.

No WP and no confirmation of WP exemption is required in these cases:
1. A foreigner working in Vietnam as a manager, executive director, specialist or technical labour for an assignment of less than 30 days and no more than 3 times in 1 year.
2. A foreigner working in Vietnam for offering but not providing services for up to 3 months.

Extension and new WP
The usual term of a WP is 2 years and it can be extended one time by 2 years. Whether a new WP for the same position can be obtained after that is not clear.

For the latest global mobility insights from all over the world, please see: Global Mobility Newsletter #1/2022



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