Foreign nationals assigned to work in Vietnam are required to show a degree of proprietary knowledge, a special skill or a manager/executive-level skill not readily available in the domestic labor market of the country. You may convert from visitor status to work status while staying in Vietnam or as the work permit application is in process.
However, foreign nationals cannot begin work until the application is approved and considered legal. Foreign nationals who enter Vietnam for employment for a duration of three (3) months or more are required an MEBV (Multiple Entry Business Visa and Work Permit). The Work Permit application has to be sponsored by a company or entity registered and recognized in Vietnam. 20% of managers, executives and specialists of foreign companies with intra-company transferees from outside the country, according to Vietnamese law, should be composed of Vietnamese nationals.
The inclusion of managers and executives is described as:
• Foreigners who directly control a foreign enterprise located in Vietnam
• Foreigners subject to general guidance only by shareholders and the board of directors of the enterprise
• Foreigners who do not participate directly in the provision of services
Specialists are described as foreign nationals with adequate experience in management, business administration, or product development. They should also be highly qualified or experienced in research, equipment management and technical knowledge.
To obtain a Work Permit in Vietnam, applicants should satisfy the following requirements:
• Be at least 18 years of age
• Health in good condition to satisfy the specific demands and requirements of the job
• Free of any criminal record or a national security offence, not currently facing criminal prosecution, or not serving a criminal sentence during assignment.
• Must be a specialist, manager, or executive.
Some foreign nationals are exempt from getting the Work Permit and can work in Vietnam holding only business visas. These individuals are:
• Foreigners who enter Vietnam to work for no more than three (3) months or to resolve emergency cases. Emergency cases are described as complex technical or technological incidents that affect or threaten to affect business activities and production to which its gravity cannot be managed adequately by Vietnam-based personnel. Foreign employees are required to submit their full name, passport number, nationality, job description and an employment contract copy indicating a period of no more than ninety (90) days to the Labor Department
• Members of a limited liability company having two or more members
• Members of the board of directors of a shareholding company
• Owners of a single-member limited liability company
• Employees that promote and market services belonging to foreign service suppliers
• Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice-certified practicing lawyers
Employees of foreign-based contractors and heads of foreign representative and branch offices were recently required the Work Permit. The Work Permit validity period lasts depending on the duration of assignment indicated in the employment contract, but no more than three (3) years. Renewals are also dependent on the employment contract, with a maximum of three (3) years for every renewal. Individuals can renew up to a maximum of three (3) times.