How to get Vietnam Work Permit for Foreigners

How to get Vietnam Work Permit for Foreigners

If you are a foreigner who intends to work in Vietnam or your Vietnam company wants to engage foreigners to work here, then foreign workers may need to have a Vietnam work permit before starting the work. This Article will detail who needs a work permit, what are requirements, and how to apply.

1. What is a Vietnam Work Permit?

Vietnam Work Permit is an official document from the Vietnamese labor authority that allows a foreigner to work legally in Vietnam for a specific work position within a specific employer and in a certain period of working time.

Here is a sample of a Vietnam Work Permit:

Vietnam Work Permit Sample

2. Who needs a Vietnam work permit?

Foreigners must have valid work permits before they start working in Vietnam if they are:

  • Foreigners who intend to work for Vietnamese employers, and are not exempted from work permits (see Section #3); 
  • Foreign investors who invested less than 3 billion VND in Vietnam companies, and are keen to stay in Vietnam to manage and operate their businesses;
  • The sole foreign legal representative of a Vietnam company, who doesn’t invest more than 3 billion VND into the company.

Please note that having a work permit only allows a foreigner to work legally in Vietnam. The foreigner needs to have a Work Visa or a Temporary Resident Card (TRC) in order to legally stay in Vietnam.

Foreigners working in Vietnam without valid work permits will be fined from 15 million VND to 25 million VND, and be deported from Vietnam. Employers will be fined from 30 million VND to 75 million VND.

3. Work permit exemptions

Foreigners will be exempted from requiring a work permit in certain following cases:

  • Foreign investors of Vietnam companies with a capital contribution of 3 billion VND or more;
  • Foreign experts, managers, executives, and technical workers going to work in Vietnam for less than 30 days per trip and no more than 3 trips per year;
  • Foreigners married to Vietnamese citizens and living in Vietnam;
  • Other cases as prescribed.

4. Requirements to get a work permit

To get a work permit, a foreigner must:

  • Be at least 18 years old and have full capacity for civil acts;
  • Have a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity;
  • Have professional qualifications, relevant and acceptable techniques, skills, and work experience for the job position (see Section #5);
  • Meet health requirements;
  • Have a clear criminal record in Vietnam or overseas;
  • Be hired by an eligible Vietnamese employer.

In addition, the Vietnamese employer (companies, representative offices in Vietnam of foreign companies, project contractors) that hires foreign workers must:

  • Only recruit foreign workers if the employer has found no qualified local to fill this particular position;
  • Explain the need to use foreign workers and get the approval of the Vietnamese labor authority before recruiting foreign workers to work in Vietnam.

5. 4 job positions for foreign workers

In general, Vietnam just opened its job market for foreign business owners or highly-skilled foreign workers to fill some specific job positions that the employer cannot find qualified local candidates.

Here are 4 eligible job positions for a Vietnam work permit:

Requirements: Being a registered legal representative of the Vietnam company, or the head or head deputy of the organization.

Proofs:

  • The company’s charter or operational policies;
  • The Enterprise Registration Certificate (ERC) or an equivalent document; and
  • A resolution or appointment decision for the respective position.

Requirements:

  • Heads of branches, representative offices, business locations; or
  • Heads and those who directly supervise a division belonging to an organization/business and under the direction of the head of the organization/business.

Proofs:

  • The company’s charter or operational policies;
  • The Enterprise Registration Certificate (ERC) or an equivalent document; and
  • A resolution or appointment decision for the respective position.

Requirements:

  • Graduated from university or higher, or equivalent + at least 3 years of skilled working experience relevant to the job position in Vietnam; or
  • Having a relevant professional qualification + at least 5 years of skilled working experience relevant to the job position in Vietnam

Proofs:

  • Degrees/certificates/accreditations; and
  • Confirmation letter of the previous foreign employer(s) about years of working experience; or previously issued Vietnam Work Permits/Work Permit Exemptions

Requirements:

  • Having been trained for at least 01 year + at least 03 years of skilled working experience relevant to the job position in Vietnam; or
  • Having at least 5 years of skilled working experience relevant to the job position in Vietnam.

Proofs:

  • Degrees/certificates/accreditations; and
  • Confirmation letter of the previous foreign employer(s) about years of working experience; or previously issued Vietnam Work Permits/Work Permit Exemptions.

6. List of required documents

Your work permit application needs to be supported by the following documents:

No.DocumentsRequirements
1A Heath Check Certificate Being issued within 12 months in Vietnam or overseas
2A Criminal Record CertificateBeing issued within 06 months in Vietnam or overseas
3Evidence that establishes your job qualifications See supporting documents in Section #5
402 color portrait photos4cm x 6cm size, white background, front view, bare head, no color glasses, taken within 6 months 
5PassportCompany-certified copy
6Job Position Approval Being issued by the provincial People’s Committee to the employer

Please note that documents issued overseas and in a foreign language other than Vietnamese must be consular legalized and translated into the Vietnamese language.

7. How to apply

Step 1. The Employer posts job recruitments on the public electronic portal 

Starting from 01 January 2024, employers using foreign labors must submit job postings at least15 days before applying for foreign labor to the labor-management authorities through the electronic information portal of the Department of Employment as follows:

In Hanoi: Post recruitment news on the website of Hanoi Employment Service Center at: https://vieclamhanoi.net/

In Ho Chi Minh City: Post recruitment news on the website of the Ho Chi Minh City Employment Service Center at: https://vieclamhcm.com.vn/

Step 2. The Employer offers a job to the foreigner

  • Only recruit foreign workers if the employer has found no qualified local candidates to fill this particular position.

Step 3. The Employer applies for a Job Position Approval

  • At least 15 days before the expected date of employment of foreign workers, the employer (except for contractors) shall submit a report explaining the demand to employ foreign workers.
  • Processing time: 10 working days.
  • Result: a Job Position Approval or a Reject Notification.

Step 4. The Employer applies for a work permit for the foreign worker(s)

  • At least 15 working days before the date the foreign worker is expected to start working for the employer, the employer must apply for a work permit for its foreign applicant.
  • The foreign applicant must provide all required documents to the Employer and relevant information, such as: educational background and record of working history.
  • Processing time: 05 working days
  • Result: A Work Permit or a Reject Notification

8. Processing time

The total processing time to obtain a work permit is from 30 working days. In practice, it could be longer depending on which city you apply for the work permit.

9. Reasons for denial

In practice, the Vietnamese labor authority may not approve all work permit applications. The reasons for rejection can vary, such as:

  • The applicant does not meet the requirements for qualifications and/or work experience;
  • The job position is not required to hire highly-skilled foreign workers (this criterion is the most difficult to prove and depends on the assessment of the authority on a case-by-case basis);
  • The application form was filled in incorrectly or does not have a proper explanation;
  • Different policies of each city in Vietnam that is welcoming or strict on using foreign workers and subject to change from time to time.

10. How long is a work permit valid?

The validity period of a work permit is equal to the term of the labor contract but no more than 2 years and can only be renewed once for a further 2-year term (so a maximum of 4 years in total duration). After that, a new work permit application is required for the foreign worker to keep working in Vietnam.

Work Permit Vietnam service by Nova Law

Conclusion

In practice, the process of getting a work permit in Vietnam can be more complicated than expected. Nova Law is here to make it easier for you. Initially, we will check the qualifications of the applicant, assess the chances for a foreigner to obtain the work permit, help choose a suitable working position, guide the application process for preparing necessary documents, and file your application with the Labor Authority.

Do you have questions about working in Vietnam, hiring a foreign worker, or having labor disputes? Contact Nova Law today to see how we can offer the service for you.

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