A work permit is a document issued by a competent authority in Vietnam to a foreigner, allowing foreigners to work legally in Vietnam when they meet certain conditions as prescribed by law. Foreign workers who are granted a work permit are considered to work legally and are protected their legitimate rights and interests in labor relations.
1. Cases exempted from work permit in Vietnam
The Labor Code 2019 stipulates 20 exemption cases from work permit for a foreign employee:
- Is the manager of a representative office, project or the person in charge of the operation of an international organizations or a foreign non-governmental organization in Vietnam.
- Enters Vietnam for a period of less than 03 months to do marketing of a service.
- Enters Vietnam for a period of less than 03 months to a resolve complicated technical or technological issue which (i) affects or threatens to affect business operation and (ii) cannot be resolved by Vietnamese experts or any other foreign experts currently in Vietnam.
- Is a foreign lawyer who has been granted a lawyer’s practicing certificate in Vietnam in accordance with the Law on Lawyers.
- In one of the cases specified in an international treaty to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory.
- Gets married with a Vietnamese citizen and wishes to reside in Vietnam.
- . He/she is the owner or capital contributor of a limited liability company with a capital contribution value of at least 3 billion dong.
- He/she is the Chairperson or a member of the Board of Directors of a joint-stock company with a capital contribution value of at least 3 billion dong. <0}
- He/she is an intra-company transferee within 11 sectors in the schedule of commitments in services between Vietnam and WTO, including: business services, communication services, construction services, distribution services, educational services, environmental services, financial services, health services, tourism services, recreational and cultural services, and transport services.
- He/she enters Vietnam to provide professional and engineering consulting services or perform other tasks intended for research, formulation, appraisal, supervision, evaluation, management and execution of programs and projects using official development assistance (ODA) in accordance with regulations or agreement in international treaties on ODA signed between the competent authorities of Vietnam and foreign countries.
- He/she is granted a communication and journalism practicing certificate in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as per the law.
- He/she is sent by a foreign competent authority or organization to Vietnam to teach and study at an international school under management of a foreign diplomatic mission or the United Nations; or of a facility established under an agreement to which Vietnam is a signatory.
- He/she isan unpaid foreign worker who voluntarily works in Vietnam to implement an international treaty to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory with certification of a foreign diplomatic mission or international organization in Vietnam.
- He/she enters Vietnam to hold the position of a manager, executive, expert or technical worker for a period of work of less than 30 days and up to 3 times a year.
- He/she enters Vietnam to implement an international agreement to which a central or provincial authority is a signatory as per the law
- He/she is a student studying at a foreign school or training institution which has a probation agreement with an agency, organization or enterprise in Vietnam; or a probationer or apprentice on a Vietnam sea-going ship.
- He/she is a relative of a member of foreign representative body in Vietnam who are authorized to work in Vietnam under an international treaty to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory as their relatives.
- He/she obtains an official passport to work for a regulatory agency, political organization, or socio-political organization.
- He/she takes charge of establishing a commercial presence.
- He/she is certified by the Ministry of Education and Training as a foreign worker entering Vietnam for teaching and research purpose.
2. Cases of being granted a work permit in Vietnam
Foreign workers who are granted work permits in Vietnam are foreign nationals who move to work in Vietnam and meet the following conditions:
- is at last 18 years of age and has full legal capacity;
- has qualifications, occupational skills, practical experience and adequate health as prescribed by the Minister of Health;
- is not serving a sentence; does not have an unspent conviction; is not undergoing criminal prosecution under his/her home country’s law or Vietnam’s law;
- Not in the cases exempted from work permit in Vietnam
3. Duration of a work permit
The maximum duration of a work permit is 02 years. A work permit may be extended once for up to 02 more years.
The duration of a work permit is granted according to the duration of one of the following cases:
- The duration of the labor contract expected to be signed;
- The duration of the foreign party sending foreign workers to work in Vietnam;
- The duration of the contract or agreement signed between the Vietnamese and foreign partners;
- The duration of the contract or service provision agreement signed between the Vietnamese and foreign partners;
- The duration stated in the document of the service provider sending foreign workers into Vietnam to negotiate service provision;
- The duration determined in the certificate of the foreign non-governmental organization or international organization permitted to operate in accordance with the provisions of Vietnamese law;
- The duration stated in the document of the service provider sending foreign workers into Vietnam to establish the commercial presence of that service provider;
- The duration in the document proving that the foreign worker is allowed to participate in the operation of a foreign enterprise that has established a commercial presence in Vietnam.
4. . Procedures for applying for work permit
Including 2 steps:
Step 1: Obtain the acceptance of demand for foreign workers
At least 30 days before the date on which foreign workers are expected to be employed, the employer (except contractor) shall determine the demand for foreign workers for every job position for which Vietnamese workers are underqualified and send a corresponding report to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the People’s Committee of province or central-affiliated city where the foreign workers are expected to work.
The application dossier includes:
1) A report explaining the demand for foreign workers
2) Copy of Business Registration Certificate
3) Letter of introduction / Power of attorney for the applicant.
Within 10 working days from the date of receipt of a valid report explaining demand for foreign workers, competent authority shall have issued a document specifying accepted job positions and non-accepted job positions.
Step 2: Apply for work permit.
At least 15 working days before the day on which a foreign worker starts to work, the applicant shall apply an application for work permit to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of the province where he/she is expected to work.
Application for a work permit:
1) An application form for certification of exemption from work permit No. 11/PLI Appendix I hereto appended.
2) A fitness to work certificate issued by a foreign or Vietnamese competent health facility issued within 12 months before the submission date of the application or the certificate as specified in regulations of the Minister of Health.
3) A judicial record or a document certifying that the foreign worker is not serving a sentence, has a criminal record expunged or is not facing a criminal prosecution issued by a foreign or Vietnamese authority. A judicial record or document certifying that the foreign worker is not serving a sentence, has a criminal record expunged or is not facing a criminal prosecution issued within 6 months before the submission date of the application.
4) Proofs as a manager, executive, expert, technical and certain jobs, work.
5) 02 color photos (4cm x 6cm size, white background, front view, bare head, no color glasses), taken within 6 months before the submission date of application.
6) An acceptance of demand for foreign workers unless it is not required.
7) A valid certified true copy of passport as per the law.
8) Documents relevant to the foreign worker: a document issued by the foreign company to send him/her to work at a commercial presence of that company in Vietnam’s territory; an agreement or arrangement concluded between Vietnamese and foreign partners is required, which specifies the arrangement about sending foreign workers to Vietnam;…
Within 5 working days after receiving a duly completed application, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of province where the foreign worker is expected to work shall issue a work permit to the foreign worker. If the application is rejected, a written explanation is required.
Fees for issuing work permits to foreigners working in Vietnam are collected when a competent state agency issues work permits to foreigners working at enterprises, agencies and organizations operating in Vietnam.
Government fees for issuing work permits will be decided by the Provincial People's Committee. Depending on the locality, the fee for a work permit will be ranging from VND400,000 to VND1,000,000. (i.e Hanoi city: VND 400,000; Ho Chi Minh City: 600.000 VND; Da Nang City: 600.000 VND; Hai Phong city: VND 600,000; Lam Dong province: VND 1,000,000)
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