Employment of foreigners in Vietnam

 20.02.2021

Major changes in the legislation of Vietnam regarding the employment of foreigners in 2021

Employment of foreigners in Vietnam

On December 30th, 2020, a decree was signed concerning foreign workers in Vietnam, stating rules on how they can carry out labor activities, as well as recruiting and managing Vietnamese employees working in enterprises with foreign investment in Vietnam.

This decree clarifies some of the provisions of the new investment law and comes into force on February 15, 2021.

The biggest change is to investors (company participants) who want to work independently at their enterprise, for example, as a director. There are also changes to the procedure in which Vietnamese workers are recruited. This process was not clear under the old decree. The process for hiring foreign workers has also been clarified, and it is now stated that 30 days before hiring foreign workers, a company must submit a request for the use of foreign workers in a specially established form (link) to the Labor Department. On this form, the request must be justified and an explanation as to why a Vietnamese specialist cannot be hired for the position(s) must be explained.

Under this new decree, there are now categories of workers for which it is not necessary to obtain approval for the employment of foreign workers. Previously it was the case that all areas of work required approval.

 

I. List of working categories that don't need to obtain permission to use foreign labor (quotas):

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  1. Heads of representative offices of international organizations, foreign non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.
  2. Employees who enter Vietnam for a period of less than 3 months under a service agreement.
  3. Employees who enter Vietnam for less than 3 months to deal with complex technical or technological situations that Vietnamese experts and foreign experts who are currently in Vietnam cannot deal with.
  4. Owners or members of limited liability companies with a capital contribution value of VND 3 billion (130 000 USD) or more.
  5. Chairmen of the board of directors or members of the board of directors of a joint stock company with a capital contribution of VND 3 billion (130 000 USD) or more.
  6. Employees who enter Vietnam to work as a manager, executive director, expert or technical officer for a period of less than 30 days, no more than 3 times a year.
  7. Employees who enter Vietnam to fulfill international agreements.
  8. Pupils, students and trainees.
  9. Relatives.
  10. Employees who have official passports to work in government agencies, political and social organizations.
  11. Persons responsible for establishing commercial presence.

Foreign employees who fall under one of the above categories are divided into two areas.  Those who need to receive the so-called “Certificate of exemption from work permits”, and those whom the employer must send a notice with a free-form application to the Labor Department, which must include following information: full name, age, nationality, passport number, employer's company name and the start and end date of employment. This should be submitted at least 3 days prior to the expected start date of the foreign worker's employment in Vietnam. Categories of employment where such a notice should be sent to the Labor Department are listed below.

 

II. Categories that are required to send a notice to the Labor Department:

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  1. Heads of representations, projects or those responsible for the activities of international organizations, foreign non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.
  2. Foreign lawyers licensed to practice law in Vietnam.
  3. Foreigners who are married to a Vietnamese national, and reside in Vietnam.
  4. Owners or members of limited liability companies with a capital contribution value of VND 3 billion (130 000 USD) or more.
  5. Chairmen of the board of directors or members of the board of directors of a joint stock company with a capital contribution of VND 3 billion (130 000 USD) or more.
  6. Employees who enter Vietnam to work as a manager, executive director, expert or technical officer for a period of less than 30 days, no more than 3 times a year.
  7. Relatives.

Please remember, categories 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 must send a notice to the Department of Labor 3 business days before the start of the work. Besides this, no other actions are required!

 

III. Categories of employment that must receive a “Work Permit Exemption Certificate”:

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  1. Employees who arrive in Vietnam to do business across 11 service sectors within Vietnam's World Trade Organisation service commitment schedule.
  2. Employees who arrive in Vietnam to provide professional and technical advisory services under ODA (Official Development Assistance) agreements.
  3. Employees who are licensed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work in the field of information and printing in Vietnam.
  4. Employees who are sent to Vietnam by competent foreign organizations to teach or study in international schools.
  5. Volunteers.
  6. Employees who enter Vietnam to work as a manager, executive director, expert or technical officer for a period of less than 30 days, no more than 3 times a year.
  7. Employees who enter Vietnam to fulfill international agreements.
  8. Pupils, students, and trainees.
  9. Employees who have official passports to work in government agencies, political and social organizations.
  10. Persons in charge of establishing commercial presence.
  11. Staff members admitted by the Ministry of Education and Training to Vietnam for study and research.

 

IV. The period

The period for which the “Certificate of exemption from work permit” is issued is a maximum of 2 years (they used to also issue certificates for a period of 3 or 5 years, but this is no longer the case).

 

V. Documents that need to be prepared to obtain such a certificate:

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  1. A written request for confirmation that a foreign worker needs to obtain a “Certificate of exemption from a work permit”, in the form No. 09/PLI (link);
  2. A health certificate issued by a competent foreign or Vietnamese medical agency or organization, signed within 12 months prior to the date of submission.
  3. Written approval of the demand for foreign workers (quota);
  4. Notarised copy of your passport;
  5. Documents confirming that a foreign worker does not need a work permit, such as contracts, company registration certificate, other related documents etc... They must be originals or notarised copies with apostille. If the document is foreign, it must be legalised at a consulate, translated into Vietnamese and certified, except for cases of exemption from consular legalisation in accordance with international treaties of which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a member.
  6. An employment contract signed 15 days before the expected start date of work in the company.

Please note that previously, only pointed 1, 4 and 5 where needed to obtain a certificate. This is no longer the case, all 6 points are required under the new decree.

Within 5 working days from the date of receipt of the full package of documents, the Ministry of Labor must either issue a “Certificate of exemption from work permit”, or respond in writing and clearly indicate the reason for the refusal to issue.

 

VI. Reports to the Department of Labor.

Under the new decree, an innovation that did not exist before is reports on the use of foreign labor and Vietnamese workers, which the employer must submit to the Labor Department before July 5 and January 5 of the year following the reporting year in the prescribed form (link).

 

VII. Regulation on the procedure for hiring Vietnamese workers in enterprises with foreign investment.

Now you, as an employer, must:

  1. Receive a job application in the format of an approved form (download here) from a Vietnamese citizen.
  2. Receive a notarized copy of one of the following documents: birth certificate, citizen's identity card or passport.
  3. Request a health certificate issued by a competent medical institution, signed within 12 months prior to the date of application.
  4. Request certified copies of diplomas and certificates of professional, technical, professional or knowledge of foreign languages related to work. In the event that such a document is issued by a foreign state, it must be legalised at a consulate, with the exception of cases exempt from consular legalisation in accordance with an international treaty to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a party.
  5. Within 7 working days from the date of signing the employment contract with the Vietnamese employee, the foreign investment company must send a free-form written notice to the Labor Department. This written notice must be accompanied by a certified copy of the employment contract and copies of documents numbered 2 and 4. If the employment contract is signed in a foreign language, a translation into Vietnamese is required.

 

VIII. Regarding work permits for hired foreign workers.

There are no changes from the previous decree. Please pay attention From February 15, 2021 if you're an Investor and you want to work as a director of your company you must obtain the working permit according to the procedure for hiring workers read more... 

 

IX. Exchange of documents.

After February 15th, 2021, you must change your work permit, or the Certificate of exemption from a work permit, in the event that during the validity period there was a change in name (either first name or surname), citizenship, passport number, place of work (that is, the legal address of the company has changed) specified in the current document.


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