After joining WTO and opening the door to foreign investors, the economy of Vietnam has been blooming in recent years, attracting a significant number of foreigners coming to the country for working and business opportunities. The Vietnam Government always tries to limit possible impediment on foreigners who wish to work in the country. However, there are indispensable conditions and work permit is one of those.
The Labour Code of Vietnam strictly regulates that a foreign employee is responsible to present his/her work permit when implementing immigration procedures and upon request of competent state authority. Be aware that any foreign citizen working in Vietnam without a work permit shall be deported out of Vietnam’s territory.
What should be included in the application for a work permit?
A work permit application should consist of the following documents:
- Written request for work permit made by the employer;
- Health certificate or report on medical examination issued by international or Vietnamese authorized health organizations/agencies in the last 12 months;
- A criminal record or written certification that the foreign worker is not a criminal or liable to criminal prosecution issued by a foreign competent authority in the last 6 months. If the foreign worker is a lawful resident in Vietnam, only criminal record issued by Vietnamese competent authority is required;
- Written certification that the worker is a manager, chief executive officer, expert or technician;
- 02 colour pictures (4cm x 6cm, white background, frontal face, bareheaded and no colourful glasses) taken within 06 months prior to the application date;
- Certified copy of passport or a substitute for passport or other licenses for international travel which is unexpired;
- Documents related to the foreign worker: 01 photocopies of each kind enclosed with its original for comparison or 01 certified copy of each kind;
- Application for a work permit in special cases (if any)
Certain documents will be required for consular legalization or translation into Vietnamese and authentication.
What is the process?
Vietnamese employer shall submit the application for a work permit to the provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs at an appointed workplace at least 15 working days prior to the first working date of the foreign worker. The application will be processed within 07 working days and work permit will be issued. A written response and explanation shall be provided if the application is rejected.
Be noted that workers who come to Vietnam to execute labour contracts can only sign the contract after obtaining a work permit and before the intended working day. Within 05 working days from the signing date of labour contracts, the employers shall send a copy of signed labour contracts to the issuing Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
Is there any exemption from work permit?
Our answer is yes. Foreign citizens working in Vietnam are eligible for exemption from work permit if they fall under the following cases:
- Capital contributors or owners of limited liability companies;
- Member of Board of Directors of joint-stock companies;
- Heads of representative offices, or directors of projects of international organizations or non-governmental organizations in Vietnam;
- Those who stay in Vietnam under 3 months to offer sale services;
- Those who stay in Vietnam under 3 months to deal with complex technical or technological incidents that adversely impact or are at risk of adversely impacting on production and business activities, and those incidents cannot be handled by Vietnamese and foreign experts who are currently in Vietnam;
- Foreign lawyers possessing professional practice license in Vietnam in accordance with the Law on Lawyers;
- It is in accordance with a treaty to which Vietnam is a contracting party.
- Students who are studying and working in Vietnam provided that the employer shall notify their employment to the provincial-level management agency of labour 7 days in advance;
- Other cases as stipulated by the Vietnamese Government.
What happens next to those who are exempt from the work permit?
Their employers shall send an application to the provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs at appointed workplace requesting for certification that such foreign workers are eligible for exemption from work permits at least 07 working days prior to commencing date of work.
Again, application for the certification of exemption from work permit should not be missing one of the following:
- A written request for the certification;
- List of foreign workers with details of full names, ages, genders, nationalities, passport numbers, starting and ending dates of employment and job positions;
- Documents proving that foreign workers are eligible for exemption from the work permit;
- Documents proving that the foreign workers are eligible for exemption from the work permits include 01 photocopies of each kind enclosed with its original for comparison or 01 certified copy of each kind; such documents are not compulsory for consular legalization but must be translated into Vietnamese and be authenticated.
After 03 working days, the provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs will send a written certification to the employer. Likewise, work permit, a written response and explanation shall be provided if application is rejected.
Keep in mind that duration of work permit or certification of foreigners’ exemption from work permit varies based on specified situation and duration of employment documents, but will not exceed 2 years.