In the last 5 years, Vietnam has been a top rising destination for expatriates and foreigners to explore its opportunities in terms of work or investment. Many foreigners were seeking for jobs, doing business or just traveling thanks to flexible visa policies. As most of other emerging countries in SEA, Vietnam has been carefully lifted up new regulations for visa renewal.
With the outbreak of pandemic in March 2020, Vietnam was forced to close its borders and offered automated extensions for foreigners coming there under tourist visas. Recently, as requirements are getting more strict to apply for work permits, recent crackdown on fake visa providers, some foreigners are not allowed to stay in the country anymore and are forced to leave.
Challenges that foreigners face in Vietnam
As a foreigner in an emerging country, you will experience challenges beyond your control. You must have a purpose while moving overseas; either by working or by investing. Getting long term visas while just being a perpetual tourist is not possible anymore. Extensions will be limited, maximum length of stay per country per year will also be more and more regulated. What happened in 2020 due to the global pandemic was an irregular situation but things will get more and more strict year after year.
In Vietnam, you are eligible for long term visas if you become an investor in Vietnam, acquire a work permit or get married to a Vietnamese citizen. On the other hand, authorities are regulating the visa policy for those foreigners who are staying in Vietnam since the beginning of the pandemic with business visas without a real job sponsor or tourist visas. Actually, this epitomizes the situations in other countries which have already implemented regulations to foreigners who are not working nor investing in their countries.
Reasons foreigners are leaving massively Vietnam
It is equally important to note about the guidelines that were laid down by the Vietnam authority concerning visas from the pandemic. Now, things are getting back to normal because most of the borders : people can travel again and tourists can go back to their home countries. Business visas have now to be sponsored by a real company : meaning that you come to Vietnam to work, but you cannot stay anymore and work without legit paperwork done in Vietnam with a local company.
This requirement is just the following of laws that have been implemented pre-covid to ban foreigners who are working illegally and not paying their personal taxes. It is advisable for those who want to work in Vietnam to seek legit companies to sponsor their visas, be sure employers are doing legit paperwork and are not breaking the law. The government also recently has come up with the work permit decree 152 that implements new law rules for foreigners who want to work in Vietnam. The Decree entails a working experience of at least 3 years with a bachelor’s degree in the same field. This will remain a challenge to those people lacking paperwork and experience, since they cannot find an employer or a job.
Long term solutions to stay or enter Vietnam
While applying for jobs, you have to make sure your employer can provide you with the work permit and ideally a 2-year TRC. Compliance with the new decree 152 will increase the requirements of experience and paperwork you have to consider for your job in Vietnam.
If you are considering doing business in Vietnam and investing to incorporate a company, solutions are obviously still possible and you can even consider coming to Vietnam nowadays. As the quarantine period may be lifted down to 7-days in the next months for vaccinated people, you can consider opening a representative office for your current business or incorporate a new limited company as a foreigner to start to do business in Vietnam.
Before getting started in doing business in Vietnam, download my book the ‘7 mistakes I made in Asia’ so you can avoid pitfalls, learn how incorporating company works, investment channels as well as my best advise for long-term visas to Vietnam.