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Requirements for Foreign Worker in Vietnam

by Sophie Dao

Normally, all foreigners looking to perform work in Vietnam are required to obtain a work permit. The foreign workers are allowed to work legally in Vietnam during the period for which the work permit is valid.

Localisation Requirements

Generally preference for all roles is given to Vietnamese nationals. In order to qualify for work permits, foreign workers must have a degree of specialized knowledge, or experience in management and technical roles that the domestic labour force cannot fill/carry out efficiently – as deemed apt by the Department of Labour.

Work permits for skilled workers

All foreign nationals seeking paid employment in Vietnam must be in possession of a valid work permit – The tenure of a work permit for a foreign worker is generally two years. In the first half of 2016, the Vietnamese government issued Decree No.11 which guide a number of articles of the Labour Code on foreigners working in Vietnam. The decree proposes developments including changes to the conditions, paperwork and timeline for work permit applications and exemptions, allowing the import of skilled and unskilled labour with less red tape. Decree No.11 also extends the time frame for lodging the re-issuance of work permits from 45 days prior to the expiry date, instead of the 15 days as per previous regulations.

Related: Work permits in Vietnam

Employee Contributions Structure

Social insurance (SI) and unemployment insurance (UI) contributions are applicable to Vietnamese individuals only. Health insurance (HI) contributions are required for Vietnamese and foreign individuals that are employed under Vietnam labour contracts. Effective from January 1, 2018, SI contribution is also applicable to foreign individuals working in Vietnam under a work permit or practicing certificate or license.

Accordingly, from January 2018, the salary subject to SI/HI/UI contributions is the salary, certain allowances, and other regular payments according to labour law, but this is capped at 20 times the minimum salary for SI/HI contributions and 20 times the minimum regional salary for UI contributions.

However, there are a number of exemptions from the work permit requirement depending on your work in Vietnam. If you are in one of these cases, you need to have a certificate explaining that you are not required a work permit to apply for Vietnam Work Permit Exemption. Instead of applying for work permits, foreigners in the exemption cases must submit their application dossier to the Department of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs of the province or city where they are employed for certification. The new procedures must be completed seven working days prior to the commencement of the foreign worker’s work

Sources: Government websites, Fitch Solutions, National Sources

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