January 14, 2021

Vietnam’s New Decree Impacts Foreign Workers

Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has issued a decree within the labor code providing new guidance on work permits, work permit exemption certificates and renewals, reissuances and revocations for foreign nationals working in Vietnam. While the changes will go into effect on February 15, 2021, some articles and processes still remain unclear. Further definitions are expected from MOLISA and the local authorities in the coming months.

Decree 152/2020/ ND-CP sets out changes relating to such items as proof of qualifications; various reporting requirements, including the use of foreign employees, foreign nationals who are not required to obtain a work permit and work permit terminations; as well as permission for spouses of Vietnamese nationals to work.

Some important points to be particularly aware of regarding the new decree are:

    • Per article 3, qualification documents required for experts/specialists include either: a bachelor’s degree or higher AND at least three years of experience working in a specialized field relevant to the job position the foreign worker is taking up in Vietnam (unchanged from previous decree); OR at least five years of experience and a “practicing” certificate relevant to the job position in Vietnam.
    • Per article 6, for a technician, accepted qualifications documents will include: a training certificate in the specific technical specialty OR in another, related specialty for at least one year, and demonstrated work for at least three years in the trained specialty (unchanged from previous decree); OR at least five years of experience in the job relevant to the job the foreign worker is expected to perform in Vietnam. This five years’ experience criteria is a new qualification which is a positive development for those who may not necessarily have a training certificate to justify expertise.
    • Per article 7, foreign nationals entering Vietnam for short-term missions with a stay of less than 30 days and for a maximum of three times a year, will not be required to obtain a work permit (whereas previously they were permitted to enter Vietnam for as many visits as they wished as long as they didn’t exceed a total of 90 days within the year).
    • Per article 19, the validity of a work permit can only be extended once and for a maximum of two years, a significant departure from the previous practice of effectively permitting indefinite extensions. There is no confirmation yet of what the process will be for foreign workers upon the expiration of the renewal period. This remains under discussion between the MOLISA and the Vietnamese business community.

The changes to the articles within the labor code may impact any foreign national intending to work or currently working in Vietnam, so it is important for both employers and foreign nationals to be aware of the new obligations and requirements set out within the new decree.

For further information on work permits and the management of foreign nationals working in Vietnam, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.
 

 
Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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