Foreigners with bachelor’s degrees and at least three years of experience working in their respective fields are no longer required to obtain work permits in Vietnam, according to a decree approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, IF they work in Vietnam for less than 30 days and less than 90 days in total in a year (Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP).

The decree contains implementation guidelines for some items related to the management of foreign employees under the Law on Employment.

Under the new decree which was released recently, the following foreign employees are exempted from work permit:
1. Capital contributing member or owner of a limited liability company;
2. Member of the board of management of a shareholding company;
3. Head of a representative office or of a project of an international organization or non-governmental organization in Vietnam;
4. Entering Vietnam for a period under three (3) months in order to offer services;
5. Entering Vietnam for a period under three (3) months in order to resolve an incident [breakdown] or technically or technologically complex situation arising and affecting, or with the risk of affecting production or business with which Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam are unable to deal;
6. A foreign lawyer issued with a certificate to practice law in Vietnam in accordance with the law on lawyers;
7. A student studying in Vietnam is permitted to work in Vietnam, but the employer must provide seven (7) days advance notice to the provincial State administrative authority for labour;
8. Intra-corporate transferee and within the scope of the eleven (11) services on the List of Commitments on Services of Vietnam with WTO namely business services; information services; construction services; distribution services; education services; environment services; financial services; medical health services; tourism services; culture and entertainment services; and transportation services;
9. Coming to Vietnam to provide expert and technical consultancy services or to undertake other tasks servicing the work of research, formulation, evaluation, monitoring and assessment, management and implementation of a program or project using official development aid (ODA);
10. Being issued with an operational licence in the information and press [sector] in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
11. Being appointed by a foreign agency or organization to come to Vietnam to teach or to conduct research in an international school managed by a foreign diplomatic office or organization in Vietnam, or certified by the Ministry of Education and Training to come to Vietnam to lecture or conduct research in an educational and training establishment in Vietnam;
12. Volunteers with certification from a foreign diplomatic office or international organization in Vietnam;
13. Coming to Vietnam to work as an expert, manager, executive director or technician for a working period under thirty (30) days and for a total cumulative period not exceeding ninety (90) days in any one (1) year;
14. Coming to Vietnam to implement an international agreement signed by a central or provincial level agency or organization in accordance with law;
15. A student currently studying at a school or training establishment overseas and who has an agreement on practical training at an agency, organization or enterprise in Vietnam;
16. Relations of members of a foreign representative agency in Vietnam who are working, after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so permitted, except where an international treaty of which Vietnam is a member contains some other provision; and
17. A person with service passport working for a State agency, political organization or socio-political organization.

The local Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs will be the in-charge authority to certify foreign employees to be exempted from work permit upon request by the employers within at least seven (7) working days from the work commencement of the foreign employees (except for employees under points (4)-(5) and (13) above.

The Decree will be in full effect from 01 April 2016.


Please contact Oliver Massmann under in case you have questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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