April 26, 2021

Progress on Work Permits for Foreigners

On 20 April, EuroCham and its Human Resources & Training Sector Committee (HR&TSC) attended a workshop organized by the Centre for Trade Promotion and Investment (ITPC) and the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs (HCMC DOLISA) to discuss the issue of work permits for foreigners following the introduction of Decree 152/2020/ND-CP (Decree 152) by the Government. This event followed a letter HR&TSC sent to MOLISA on 26 March on this issue.
   
During the discussion, it was confirmed that a new work permit granted under Decree 11 cannot be renewed under the terms of that Decree. Instead, applicants must follow the new regulations as set out in Decree 152. In practice, this means that after a four-year period – two for the initial work permit and two for the renewal – foreign workers can still be granted a new work permit following the procedures set out in Article 9 of Decree 152. During this time, the applicants are not required to leave Vietnam or to change their job title.
  
     
Foreign workers can submit an application for a work permit either as intra-corporate transferees, or as managers, executives, experts or technical workers. Meanwhile, their academic degree is not required to be directly relevant to their job position, with relevant degrees also acceptable as per Article 3.3 of the Decree.
   
However, some issues remain unresolved following the meeting. The first is whether a new work permit granted under Decree 11/2016/ND-CP (Decree 11) can be renewed under Decree 152, which replaced Decree 11. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is considering this. Second, also under consideration is whether DOLISA will accept current work permits – granted under Decree 11 – as a supporting document to prove foreign workers’ qualifications and experience. Third, MOLISA has not provided guidance to DOLISA that it should accept certificates of experience from Vietnamese companies; just from foreign enterprises.
  
   
Other issues raised between HR&TSC and HCMC DOLISA on 20 April included stricter requirements for companies wishing to recruit foreign workers. These applicants must provide clear explanations for the reasons their posts cannot be filled from the Vietnamese workforce – such as listing 10 job requirements – following Article 152.1 of the Labour Code. Meanwhile, details of foreign-issued degrees must be classified according to Vietnamese classifications; the term of the labour contract must align with that of the work permit; and the date of the appointment letter must be after the date which DOLISA accepted the enterprise’s request to recruit a foreign worker, as per Article 152 of the Labour Code.
    
Concluding the meeting, HCMC DOLISA noted the concerns of EuroCham and the HR&TSC members and promised to report them to MOLISA for their consideration and that of the Government. EuroCham will continue to monitor this issue as it develops and keep our members updated in our discussions with the relevant Central and local authorities.
   
Members might be interested in working with EuroCham and its HR&T SC to further advocate for the topic:
and in attending our upcoming event on this topic to learn more about work permits under the new regulations.
 

Read the Decree 152 in ENGLISH and VIETNAMESE

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