Vietnam has become an increasingly attractive destination for foreign investors and many local companies have found increased business opportunities with foreign partners. As within any international business environment, the need to hire foreign employees eventually arises. The employment regulations in Vietnam are quite strict and foreigners wishing to enter and work in the country shall comply with specific conditions and rules. An employer wishing to recruit a foreign employee must firstly submit a request form and certain required documents to the Department of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs to apply for a work permit at least 13 working days before the date the foreign employee is expected to start work.

A Vietnam work permit allows its holder to work in Vietnam legally. The request must be filed by the local company registered and recognized in Vietnam to the Department of Labor, which is the only organ authorized to issue Vietnam work permit for foreigners.

The maximum validity of a work permit for foreigners working in Vietnam is 36 months (3 years). This means that, for foreigners, the term of the labor contract cannot be longer than the period stipulated in the work permit, additionally, the work description therein cannot be in contrast with the provisions stipulated in the work permit.

It should be noted that not everyone is eligible to work in Vietnam, as there are certain requirements to meet in order to obtain a working permit: the most selective of which is professional experience and education, only applications submitted by foreigners with a sufficient level of qualifications and able to cover positions that Vietnamese workers cannot be approved.

There are exemptions for certain working positions or working conditions that don’t require a work permit and, in these cases a foreign employee can regularly work in Vietnam while only holding a business visa. Although, we would recommend to carefully consider this option and to be certain of legal compliance. In cases where foreign employees are found illegally working in Vietnam without a work permit, they will be expelled from the country within 15 days. In addition, the employer shall be punished accordingly by having their business operations suspended for 3 months. The sanctions for administrative violations against regulations on employment vary from VND 30,000,000 to VND 75,000,000, depending on the number of employees involved in the violation.

In conclusion, a Work Permit is required by law for foreigners to work in Vietnam and companies shall be aware of the procedures, requirements and timeframe in order to properly evaluate hiring non-local employees. If you have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact D’Andrea & Partners specialists via the following email address: hanoi@dandreapartners.com.