Vietnam – New Decree Details Requirements for Foreign Workers

What has changed

Effective April 1, 2016, a new decree (11/2016/ND-CO) implementing the labor code related to foreign nationals working in Vietnam will come into force.

The new decree, issued this month, details new requirements related to the management of foreign nationals working in Vietnam. It includes both new criteria and procedures for acquiring Work Permits and new guidelines on deportation of foreign nationals working unlawfully.

Who is affected?
What to expect

  • All foreign nationals working in Vietnam or to work there in the future, companies employing foreign nationals in Vietnam

Some further details will be issued, but the key changes and how these compare with current law are summarized as follows:

Work Permit Exemption for short-term assignments
Foreign nationals working in Vietnam for less than thirty (30) days and for a total cumulative period not exceeding ninety (90) days per year shall be exempted a Work Permit.

Existing Law: Currently there are no such provisions.

Processing Time
Processing time for Work Permits is seven (7) working days.

Existing Law: Current processing time is ten (10) working days.

People’s Committee Approval
Position approval is now no longer a required item for a Work permit submission to the authority. However, reporting of labor needs is still required to the People’s Committee.

Existing Law: Currently, confirmation of People’s Committee Approval is a required item when submitting a Work Permit application. We believe that confirmation of this will now be done internally between the People’s Committee and the Department of Labor, Invalids & Social Affairs (DeLISA)

Qualifications Required for Work Permits
Foreigners in specialist and expert positions must supply BOTH a university degree or higher in a field related to their role AND evidence of three (3) years post-qualification work experience. No change is expected for managerial or director-level positions.

Existing Law: Currently, only one or the other is required. Either a degree in a related field OR three (3) years experience.

Work Permit Renewals
Applications for renewal will be able to be lodged any time within forty-five (45) days prior to expiry.

Existing Law: Currently, renewals may only be filed within fifteen (15) days of expiry.

Renewals for Specialist and Expert Personnel
Applications must meet the new guidelines of having a degree AND three (3) years post-qualification work experience. Applicants classified as specialists or experts will need to provide either both of those items OR a certificate from an agency, organization or enterprise outside Vietnam confirming that he/she is an expert in a related field (it is still unclear exactly which agencies, organizations or enterprises may issue such a certificate). A legalized work testimonial will be required which may be supplied by an employer who can attest to the work experience gained.

Existing Law: Currently, only one or the other is required. Either a degree in a related field OR three (3) years experience.

Work Permit Amendments

The new decree will provide guidance on changes of sponsorship of Work Permits. While this is not yet fully detailed, it is anticipated the level of evidence required to acquire the new Work Permit under a new entity or employer will not be as high as is currently the case.

Existing Law: Currently, it is required that a full application meeting all requirements be made.

Health Certificates

Health certificates will be recognized for twelve (12) months.

Existing Law: Currently, health certificates are valid for six (6) months.

Police Certificates

The decree will continue to require applicants to supply a legalized Certificate of No Criminal Conviction AND if they have resided in Vietnam the local equivalent will also be required. It is not yet defined how long a person must have been in Vietnam to be required to provide a local police clearance.

Existing Law: The current requirement is broadly speaking the same but inconsistently applied. It is hoped the new decree will bring more consistency but this cannot yet be confirmed.

Cancellation of Work Permits

Under the new decree, confirmation of cancellation of Work Permits will be issued.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • It is possible that the feasibility of some renewals as well as new cases will be impacted by the requirement to hold both a degree in a relevant field AND 3 years of post-qualification work experience. Clients should read the information and determine impacts on existing staff in Vietnam in consultation with your Emigra Worldwide consultant.
  • Initiating renewals further in advance to establish feasibility is recommended.
  • It is important to note that the job position is crucial to determine the qualification documents required.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.