Currently, as the global community integrates deeper, employment of foreign workers in Vietnam becomes increasingly popular, both in foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises. However, finding highly qualified labour is becoming difficult due to the “insufficient supply and demand”. The demand for searching for and hiring employees for high-level jobs, especially from international labour sources, is becoming increasingly important as it gets more urgent. This article will attempt to help its readers in understanding what enterprises should do to recruit foreign workers to work in Vietnam?

1. Conditions for employing foreign workers in Vietnam

1.1 Conditions for employees

Foreigners working in Vietnam must meet the following conditions:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and have full legal capacity.
  • Have qualifications, occupational skills, and practical experience.
  • Be in adequate health condition as prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
  • Not serving a sentence, does not have an unspent conviction and is not undergoing criminal prosecution under his/her home country’s/Vietnamese Law.
  • Must obtain a work permit (WP) or confirm eligibility for ‘Work permit exemption’ or ‘WPE’ prior to commencing work.

1.2 Conditions for employers

Enterprises shall employ foreigners only for the positions of managers, executive directors, specialists and technical workers with professional requirements which cannot be met by Vietnamese workers.

Prior to the recruitment of foreign employees in Vietnam, the Enterprises must submit an explanation regarding the same, which is subject to written approval by the competent authorities.

2. Procedure for employing foreign workers

Enterprises employing foreign workers must follow the following general procedure:

2.1 Determine the need to use foreign workers

  • At least 30 days prior to the expected date of employment of foreign workers, the employer shall submit a report explaining the need to employ foreign workers to the labour agency.
  • During the process, if there is a change in demand for foreign workers, the enterprise must report about such changes at least 30 days in advance.

2.2 Ask for WP or WPE

  • Work permit exemption: The enterprise must request the labour management authority for confirmation of WP or WPE at least 10 days prior to the date the employment of the foreigner.
  • Issuance of work permit: At least 15 days before the date on which the foreigner is expected to start working in Vietnam, the enterprise shall submit an application for a work permit to the labour authorities.

2.3 Sign a labor contract

  • Foreign workers working under the form of labour contract, after being granted a work permit, the enterprise and the employee must sign a written labour contract before the expected date of beginning work at the enterprise.
  • The enterprises must send the signed labour contract to the competent authorities which issued the work permit.

2.4 Report on employment of foreign workers

Enterprises must submit reports for the first 6 months of the year (before 5th July) and annual reports (before 5th January of the following year) on employment of foreign workers to the labour management authorities.

2.5 Revoke the work permit

If the work permit expires, the enterprise must revoke the foreigner’s work permit and submit it to the labour management agency within 15 days from the date of expiration of the work permit.

3. Notes

  • The work permit has a maximum term of 2 years. The labour contract must specify a definite term of employment and can be renewed many times. However, such renewal must be within the term of the issued work permit.
  • A work permit can be renewed only once. After it has been renewed once, if the employee wishes to continue working, they must apply for a new work permit.
  • A work permit is not a valid substitute for the foreign worker’s residence document. Enterprises need to apply for temporary residence registration, temporary residence cards, or relevant visas for the foreign employee during the employment period.
  • Enterprises should pay attention to the personal income tax of foreign workers and must plan for the payment of the same in advance to avoid delays.

The article is based on laws applicable at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable laws and the specific cases that the reader may wish to apply may have changed. Therefore, the article is for referencing only.