Vietnam amends rules impacting employment of foreigners

September 22, 2023

HANOI - The Vietnamese Government on September 18 issued a Decree amending and supplementing Decree No. 152 on foreign employees working in Vietnam and the recruitment and management of Vietnamese employees working for foreign individuals and organizations in Vietnam. The new Decree takes immediate effect.

Global lawyers Baker McKenzie warns that while some regulations and conditions for work permit eligibility and application procedures have been loosened, Decree 70 continues to prioritise the protection of job opportunities for the Vietnamese workforce over foreign nationals, "in line with the spirit of Decree 152 and recent enforcement trends of the Vietnamese labour authorities.

"It is expected that there may be potential challenges for employers in respect to justifying the need to engage foreign nationals instead of Vietnamese employees." BM says.

The Firm advises enterprises and organisations to engage in careful preparation and planning in regard to new work permit applications.

In a summary of key content in the Decree, BM says:

1. Notification on the recruitment of Vietnamese workers is now required before applying for approval of foreign labour

2. Conditions for work permit eligibility of "experts" and "technical workers" have been loosened

According to Decree 70, a foreigner is required to have a bachelor's degree (or higher) and at least three years of suitable working experience for the position to be taken in Vietnam to be considered as an "expert"; or be trained for at least one year and have at least five years of suitable working experience for the position to be taken in Vietnam to be considered a "technical worker".

Foreigners are no longer required to have bachelor's degrees or training directly related to their intended job positions in Vietnam.

3. Past work permits can be used to evidence work permit eligibility of "experts" and "technical workers".

4. Evidence of work permit eligibility for "business managers" is now clearly specified.

5. Definition of "executive directors" is expanded.

Further information -- Thuy Hang Nguyen, Partner, Ho Chi Minh City, email