Who are eligible for Vietnam Work Permit Exemption ?

Most foreigners who engage in employment in Vietnam must comply with Vietnamese labor laws. In case it is necessary to employ foreign employees, employers must apply for a work permit in accordance with regulations. A work permit is a mandatory legal condition for foreigners to work in Vietnam.

However, in certain circumstances, foreign employees do not have to apply for a work permit, also known as Work Permit Exemption. Work Permit Exemption Certificate is a confirmation, allowing foreign employees to legally work in Vietnam as well as serving as a basis to apply for a temporary residence card for long-term settlement in Vietnam. Cases of work permit exemption do not have to apply for a work permit, but another procedure to apply for a work permit exemption certificate is required.

Pursuant to Article 154 of the Labor Code 45/2019/QH14 and Article 7 of Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP, if the foreigners are included in one of the scenarios listed below, they may be eligible for work permit exemption in Vietnam:

1. Foreigners being Heads of representative offices, projects, or persons otherwise taking main responsibility for the operation of international organizations or foreign non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.

2. Foreigners entering Vietnam for less than 03 months to offer services.

3. Foreigners entering Vietnam for less than 03 months to deal with complicated technical or technological problems that adversely impact or are likely to have adverse impacts on production and business operations and cannot be fixed by Vietnamese and foreign experts who are currently in Vietnam.

4. Foreign lawyers holding a legal practising license in Vietnam in accordance with the Law on Lawyers.

5. Foreigners subject to cases included in the International Treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory.

6. Foreigners who get married to Vietnamese citizens and wish to reside in Vietnam.

7. Foreigners being owners or capital contributors of limited liability companies having the capital contribution of at least VND 3 billion.

8. Foreigners being the chairperson or members of the Board of Directors of joint-stock companies having the capital contribution of at least VND 3 billion.

9. Foreign employees who are internally reassigned by the companies which engage in 11 service industries in Vietnam’s schedule of specific commitments in services with WTO, including: business, communication, construction, distribution, education, environment, finance, health, tourism, culture, entertainment, and transportation.

10. Foreign employees entering Vietnam to provide professional and technical advisory services or perform other tasks serving the research, construction, appraisal, assessment, management, and execution of programs and projects funded by ODA according to the international treaties on ODA between the competent authorities of Vietnam and other countries.

11. Foreign employees issued with licenses for the practice of communications or journalism in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

12. Foreign employees appointed by foreign authorized agencies or organizations to teach or do research in international schools managed by foreign diplomatic missions or the United Nations; offices or organizations established according to the agreements executed or participated in by Vietnam.

13. Foreign volunteers entering Vietnam to work without any remuneration to implement international treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory and certified by a foreign diplomatic mission or international organization in Vietnam.

14. Foreigners entering Vietnam to hold the positions of experts, managers, chief executive officers, or technicians for less than 30 days and 03 times per year at maximum.

15. Foreigners entering Vietnam to implement international agreements to which central or provincial agencies and organizations are signatories in accordance with the law.

   16. Students who are currently studying at schools or training institutions               overseas and have an agreement for practical training at an agency,                     organization, or enterprise in Vietnam; or overseas students performing                 practical training on Vietnamese vessels.

17. Relatives of members of a foreign diplomatic mission in Vietnam who are        permitted to work in Vietnam according to an international treaty to which              Vietnam is a signatory.

18. Foreigners holding official passports and entering Vietnam to work in state      agencies, political organizations, or sociopolitical organizations.

19. Foreigners in charge of establishing commercial presence.

20. Foreigners certified by the Ministry of Education and Training as entering        Vietnam for teaching and research.

*** Sequence:

Step 1: Apply for approval of demand on using foreign employees

  • The employer shall prepare:
  • Enterprise registration certificate (certified copy);
  • Registration form for demand on using foreign employees (Form No.01) or Form No.02 in case of changes in demand on using foreign employees.
  • At least 30 days before the expected date of work of the foreign employee, the employer shall submit the aforesaid dossier to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the People’s Committee of the province or municipality where the foreign employee expects to work to apply for written approval.
  • Within 10 working days from the date of submission of a complete and valid dossier, the employer shall then receive written approval. In case of refusal, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, or the Provincial People’s Committee shall provide a written explanation.

Step 2: Apply for a work permit exemption for foreign employees

  • Foreign employees and the employer prepare a dossier to apply for WORK PERMIT EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE, including:
  • Request form for confirming the foreign employee is eligible for work permit exemption (Form 09);
  • A health check issued within 12 months;
  • Written approval of demand on using foreign employees, except for cases where such demand is not required;
  • Certified copy of valid passport;
  • Papers or documents proving the eligibility for work permit exemption of foreign employees.

(Note: Documents issued in Vietnam must be originals or certified copies; Those issued in foreign countries must be consular legalized (except for cases exempt from consular legalization), then translated into Vietnamese and notarized).

  • At least 10 days prior to the date when the foreign employee starts his/her work, the employer shall submit the prepared documents to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs in the province where the foreigner is expected to work.
  • Within 05 working days from the date of submission of a complete and valid dossier, the employer shall receive a confirmation of work permit exemption for the foreign employee (work permit exemption certificate) according to Form 10. Otherwise, the employer shall receive a written reply stating the specific reason.

NOTES:

Decree 152/2020/ND-CP stipulates that the following cases are exempt from applying for written approval of demand on using foreign employees and/or applying for a work permit exemption certificate.

A. Cases that are exempt from applying for written approval of demand on using foreign employees (an application for a work permit exemption certificate is still required):

  • Foreigners being Heads of representative offices, projects, or persons otherwise taking main responsibility for the operation of international organizations or foreign non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam for less than 03 months to deal with complicated technical or technological problems that adversely impact or are likely to have adverse impacts on production and business operations and cannot be fixed by Vietnamese and foreign experts who are currently in Vietnam.
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam to implement international agreements to which central or provincial agencies and organizations are signatories in accordance with the law.
  • Students who are currently studying at schools or training institutions overseas and have an agreement for practical training at an agency, organization, or enterprise in Vietnam; or overseas students performing practical training on Vietnamese vessels.
  • Foreigners holding Official Passports and entering Vietnam to work in state agencies, political organizations, or sociopolitical organizations.
  • Foreigners in charge of establishing commercial presence.

B. Cases that are exempt from applying for a work permit exemption certificate (an application for written approval of demand on using foreign employees is still required):

  • Foreign lawyers holding a legal practising license in Vietnam in accordance with the Law on Lawyers.
  • Foreigners who get married to Vietnamese citizens and wish to reside in Vietnam.

C. Cases that are exempt from applying for written approval of demand on using foreign employees and work permit exemption certificate:

  • Foreigners entering Vietnam and staying in the country for less than 03 months to offer services.
  • Foreigners being owners or capital contributors of a limited liability company having the capital contribution of at least VND 3 billion.
  • Foreigners being chairperson or a member of the Board of Directors of a joint-stock company having the capital contribution of at least VND 3 billion.
  • Foreigners entering Vietnam to hold the positions of experts, managers, chief executive officers, or technicians for less than 30 days and 03 times per year at maximum.
  • Relatives of members of a foreign diplomatic mission in Vietnam who are permitted to work in Vietnam according to an international treaty to which Vietnam is a member.

*** The employer shall, in both B and C cases above, at least 03 days prior to the foreigner’s expected date of work, report to the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs in province where the foreigner is expected to work, specify full name, age, nationality, passport number of the foreign employees and name of the employer, commencement date and termination date of work.

*** Valid term of work permit exemption certificate

  • Similar to the term of the Work Permit Certificate, the Work Permit Exemption Certificate shall be valid for up to 02 years.
  • In case the work permit exemption certificate is reissued, it is also valid for 02 years at maximum.
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