Vietnam’s Visas and Work Permit Procedures

by: Pritesh Samuel, Vietnam Briefing, Dezan Shira & Associates

Posted: 24th June 2019 14:16

Vietnam’s visa and work permit procedures can be confusing for first time visitors. Vietnam Briefing explains the steps and what foreigners should pay attention to when planning a long-term visit.

The number of foreign skilled workers coming to Vietnam has steadily increased in recent years, surging to over 80,000 at the end of 2018. Most foreign workers that come to Vietnam are employees of foreign contractors, working for, or establishing, foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, coming from over 100 countries.

A Vietnamese entity is permitted to recruit foreign workers in order to work as managers, executive directors and experts where local hires are not yet able to meet production and business requirements. Unlike in certain other Asian countries, Vietnamese representative offices are also able to hire staff directly.

To demonstrate the necessity of a foreign employee, 30 days prior to recruiting the foreign employee, the entity must publicly announce recruitment for this position to Vietnamese job seekers in a Vietnamese newspaper or online portal.

Evidence of this announcement must be presented in the application for a work permit for a foreign employee. The other option is to recruit foreigners through a government-owned employment service center.
When hiring foreign staff in Vietnam, there are a number of procedures and legal frameworks that must be understood.

Types of visas

In order to enter Vietnam, a foreigner needs a visa issued by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. A Vietnamese visa can be granted while in a third-party country or from within Vietnam. Citizens of ASEAN countries receive a free entry visa to Vietnam that lasts between 15 and 30 days, while Vietnam also an e-visa policy for 80 nationalities lasting until 30 days.

However, to work in Vietnam and remain for an extended period, foreigners need to apply for a longer-term three-month single or multiple entry visa.

Work permit procedures and requirements

A work permit is required when working in Vietnam for more than three months. This should ideally be applied 15 days by the employer with the provincial Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) before the foreign worker commences their employment. Work permit processing times take up to 10 business days.

Where a work permit is not compulsory, a notice must be submitted seven days in advance to the provincial MoLISA prior to working in Vietnam. Currently, work permits for foreigners are valid for a maximum of three years and are not renewable. A new application must be made if the company wishes to continue employing the foreign worker.

To be eligible for a work permit, the applicant must comply with the following conditions:

A work permit may be terminated in the following circumstances:

The following situations exempt the foreigner from needing a work permit:

Vietnamese authorities are becoming stricter regarding work permits. Those who violate the regulations by working in Vietnam without a work permit may be penalized or, if unable to meet work permit requirements, deported back to their home countries within 15 days. In addition, the employer’s operations may be suspended for three months with a possible penalty of up to US$3,300.

Temporary residence cards

Foreigners who hold work permits valid for one year or more, as well as senior management, can be granted a Temporary Residence Card (TRC). A TRC is issued by the immigration agency under the Ministry of Public Security, and is valid from one to five years depending on the visa type.

People granted a TRC can enter and exit Vietnam without a visa within the valid terms of their TRC. The processing time typically takes five working days while the fee varies between US$60 to US$100 depending on the duration of the card.

Holders of work visas are eligible for a Temporary Residence Card, as well as members of management boards, members of councils and boards of directors, heads of company branches and Chief Representatives of representative offices of foreign enterprises in Vietnam.

Permanent residence cards

An expatriate who has a legal residence while earning a living in Vietnam may also apply for a Permanent Residence Card (PRC); however, they are subject to the following conditions:

The processing time typically takes five working days with a fee of US$100. A PRC holder can stay in Vietnam without a visa however, a PRC must be re-issued every 10 years.

This article was first published by Vietnam Briefing,which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates.

The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including inin ChinaHong KongVietnam, Singapore, India,and Russia. Readers may write to info@dezshira.com for more support.
  


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