In order to work legally in Vietnam, and apply for a temporary resident card, foreign nationals require a Vietnam work permit. Though you can still find work without a work permit, good companies may not allow you to work for them as they may be fined by the Vietnam government.
Under Vietnamese labor law, except for cases in which foreign employees are exempted from Vietnam work permit, all foreigners are required to apply for and obtain a work permit to be employed in Vietnam and renew business visas.
The Work Permit application has to be sponsored by a company/entity registered and recognized in Vietnam. The application has to be submitted within a reasonable amount of time, otherwise, the foreigners might be requested to leave Vietnam once their visa expires.
When to Apply Vietnam Work Permit?
Expats can apply for a work permit within Vietnam or from abroad with assistance of their employer or a visa center. Those applying for work permit in Vietnam will need to carry out the application within 90 days after arriving in Vietnam, because the Vietnam government just grants a 3-month period during which the expats can stay and look for a job without a work permit.
Who Will Get The Work Permit For You?
The Department of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs is the single authority who can issue Vietnam work permit for foreigners. The validity of a work permit lasts 36 months. Foreign workers have to re-apply for renewing their work permit after it expires.
Vietnam Work Permit Exemption
Do you need a work permit to work in Vietnam? In fact, some foreigners are exempted from getting Vietnam Work Permit and can work in Vietnam with business visas only. They are:
- Foreigners who work in Vietnam shorter than 03 months;
- Foreigners who are the members of a limited liability company with two members or more;
- Foreigner who owned a limited liability company with a member (except an authorized representative);
- Foreigners who are the Board of Directors members of the joint-stock company;
- Foreign workers entering Vietnam to provide services;
- Foreigners entering Vietnam for 03 months to handle emergency problems such as incidents, technical situations, arising complex technologies that affect or likely to affect production, business that Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam cannot handle. If the time for the said matters is more than 03 months, they have to apply for a work permit.
- Foreign workers who are internally transferred within an enterprise operating in the 11 service sectors in the list of Vietnam’s commitments on services to the World Trade Organization, including: business, communication, construction, distribution, education, environment, finance, healthcare, tourism, cultural entertainment and transport;
- Foreign workers entering Vietnam to provide advisory services and technical expertise or perform other tasks serving research, construction, appraisal, monitoring and evaluation, management and implementation of programs/projects funded with official development assistance (ODA) as specified and agreed in international agreements on ODA between competent authorities of Vietnam and other countries;
- Foreign workers who are issued with a license for the practice of journalism in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in accordance with the law;
- Foreign workers who are teachers of foreign organizations that are sent to Vietnam by such organizations to teach and research in international schools under the management of foreign diplomatic missions or international organizations in Vietnam or permitted by the Ministry of Education and Training to teach and research in Vietnam’s education and training institutions;
- Volunteers certified by foreign diplomatic missions or international organizations in Vietnam;
- Foreign workers coming to Vietnam to work as experts, managers, executive directors or technical employees within a period of less than 30 days and no more than 90 cumulative days in 01 years;
- Foreign workers entering Vietnam to implement international agreements to which central and local state agencies are signatories as prescribed by the law;
- Students studying in foreign schools and institutions having agreements on internship in agencies, organizations and enterprises in Vietnam;
- Family members of diplomatic agents of foreign diplomatic missions in Vietnam permitted for working by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, except where international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory that contains provisions different from this;
- Foreign workers who have official passports to work for state agencies, social organizations and socio-political organizations;
- Other cases decided by the Prime Minister at the proposal of the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs.
Vietnam Work Permit Requirements
To get a work permit in Vietnam, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Over 18 years old
- Have good health condition that satisfies the job’s specific demands and requirements.
- Free of any criminal record in their country or a national security offense, not currently facing criminal prosecution, or not serving a criminal sentence by the Vietnamese and foreign policemen during assignment.
- Have high degree of specialized knowledge, technology and qualification; experienced in business, management and other professions that Vietnamese labors are currently unable to conduct efficiently.
Vietnam Work Permit Termination
A work permit may be terminated if:
- Work permit has been expired.
- Labor contract has been terminated.
- The content of labor contract is not consistent with the granted work permit.
- The contracts of business, trade, finance, banking, insurance, science and technology, culture, sports, education, or medicine have been expired or terminated.
- The foreign employer announced the termination of the foreign employee working in Vietnam.
- Work permit launched by authorized state agencies has been withdrawn.
- The operation of company, organization, and partners in Vietnam has been terminated.
Validity of the Vietnam Work Permit depends on the operating duration of assignment indicated in the employment contract, but no more than three years. Renewals also depend on the employment contract, with a maximum of three years each. Individuals can renew up to a three times.
Before leaving Vietnam, the Work Permit needs to be cancelled with the assistance of the Labor Department. Foreign employees should return the permit to their employer within fifteen (15) days from the date that their employment ends. It is the employer’s responsibility to submit the permit with a notification letter to the local office of Labor Department.
If you wish to work in Vietnam, but you don’t know about the job opportunities and wish to learn more by visiting Vietnam first, please check your Vietnam visa requirement to better prepare for your trip.