Thing to know – Working in Vietnam

In 2011, the number of registered foreign employees in Vietnam nearly 75,000. Foreigners wishing to work in Vietnam must be at least 18 years old and be healthy enough to satisfy the job requirements. They must be high technical skills or high professional qualifications regarding services and with many experiences may be employed. However, they were not involved in any criminal records with a national security offense, and must not currently be subject to criminal prosecution or any criminal sentence in accordance with Vietnamese and foreign laws. So, a foreign expatriate may enter into Vietnam to work and they need to know some things:

Firstly, Foreigners entering Vietnam must have a valid passport and Vietnam visa  and must be able to state the purpose and length of their stay in the country before they can be granted entry. Vietnam Visas may be applied for, and issued at the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Police, a consulate office under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a foreign representative office, or a Vietnam embassy/consulate overseas. If they were in Vietnam, they can apply for visa extension at the Vietnamese immigration authority or through any Vietnam travel agencies. The maximum visa term for a foreigner working in Vietnam is 12 months. Visas cannot be renewed once expired, but a new one can be applied for if necessary. A foreign worker with a valid work permit may also apply for a Temporary Residence Card for a period of up to three years. The application must be submitted to the provincial Immigration Department, and may include supporting documents such as a housing leasing contract and an employer’s certificate of incorporation.

Secondly, a work permit is normally required from a foreign employee working for more than three months in Vietnam. Once an employer receives two sets of application files from the potential foreign employee, the employer can apply for issuance of a work permit for that foreigner from the Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs. Foreign employees do not need a work permit as:

  • A member or owner of a limited liability company or a member of the board of management of a shareholding company.
  • A person offering services to practice law, under a professional license issued by the Ministry of Justice.
  • A Chief Representative Officer, Chief Project Officer, or representative of a foreign nongovernmental organization for its operation in Vietnam.
  • An internal transferee of a company that engages in one of 11 service sectors as stated in Vietnam’s WTO service commitments.
  • A person providing professional and technical consultancy service or conducting other missions serving for the implementation, evaluation, and supervision of Official Development Aid programs or projects according to the agreements signed between foreign parties and the Vietnamese Government.
  • A person permitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct media activities in Vietnam.
  • Other circumstances as stipulated by the Prime Minister.

Another problem is Foreign residents who stay in Vietnam for at least 183 days within 12 consecutive months are subject to personal income tax on all income earned in Vietnam and regular income earned abroad. Vietnam uses a progressive tax scale when calculating personal income tax, with the highest rate being 35%. Foreigners who stay in Vietnam for less than 183 days during a 12-month period are subject to personal income tax on regular and irregular income sourced in Vietnam during their residence in Vietnam and a 20% flat rate will be applied./.

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