VIETNAM – Clarifications on Recent Rule Changes Published
The government of Vietnam has issued new guidelines on the recent immigration rule changes (Decree 46). The new guidelines (Circular 31) provide additional information on reporting requirements and additional clarifications on the work permit exemptions announced in Decree 46.
Circular 31 makes the following reporting requirements clear:
- Vietnamese entities employing foreign nationals must report annually, before 15 December each year, their plan for the recruitment and employment of foreign nationals for the following year. Any change of this recruitment plan during the year must be reported to the labour department.
- Employers (including non-governmental organisations) of foreign nationals must also submit a half-yearly report on the situation of the foreign nationals they employ, using the specific application form prescribed by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
- Any employment of foreign nationals that lasts for longer than ten consecutive days or thirty days in a one year period, and which is in a province of Vietnam other than the one where the original work permit was obtained must be reported to the labour department of that province.
- Employers hiring foreign nationals for under three months must report this employment to the labour department and provide police clearance certificates, plus additional supporting documents, for the foreign national in question.
Work Permit Exemption Clarifications
Circular 31 also states that work permit exemptions are not in place for the heads of Representative Offices, despite this having been indicated in Decree 46. In fact, this exemption is only available for the heads of Representative Offices of non-governmental organisations (although it is important to note that the rules have, so far, been interpreted differently by different labour departments).
In addition, the Circular states that spouses of diplomats are not automatically exempted from the requirement to have a work permit in order to take up employment. This exemption may be available in some cases but will depend on whether or not there is an agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the respective country and the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Work Permit Expirations and Annulments
The Circular states that:
- Expired or annulled work permits must be returned to the Department of Labour within 15 days of expiry or annulment
- Foreign nationals leaving one employer and moving to a new organisation may submit applications for a transfer of work permit if the new position is taken up within one month of the previous work permit’s expiration date or annulment date. If the transfer takes place more than one month later, a new work permit application will be necessary.
- Note that work permit exemptions are not available for the heads of Representative Offices
- Note the reporting requirements in place and ensure your entity in Vietnam is maintaining compliance
- Refer to Circular 31 (or ask your immigration provider) for the reporting forms prescribed by the Vietnamese government