Vietnam Travel News
Post: 25-02-2016 09:14:14 AM - Views: 573
(visavietnam.net.vn) - Rules regarding visas and work permits for foreigners plying their trade in Vietnam have been something of a moveable feast in recent years. Subtle shifts in policy and practice ensure that the current state of play with regards to these matters is always a popular topic of conversation in Ho Chi Minh City’s expat enclaves and watering holes.
Vietnam has signaled it will easy the requirements for some foreigners working in the country. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)
The process of applying for a work permit is often times lengthy and complicated, requiring many documents stamped by just as many entities. Health checks, criminal history checks, proof of qualifications (and that means the original certificate of your higher education qualifications; yes, the one you have hanging on your wall at home or in your office).
Not surprisingly then, there has been much chatter resulting from the announcement earlier this week of new rules governing foreigners working in Vietnam.
According to the decree approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, those holding at least a bachelor’s degree and three years of experience in their respective field no longer need apply for a work permit. The new rule also applies to those transferring to Vietnam from within the same company.
There are some 74,000 foreigner working in Vietnam, according the the country’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. Most of this number are unskilled laborers from neighboring countries. However, it has long been a complaint of multinationals and other organizations requiring highly-skilled foreign talent that the uncertainty of the work permit process has been a drag on business.
The winners with the new ruling would also appear to be teachers at high schools and universities, who are now also exempt from applying for a work permit.
However, as with all pronouncements of new regulations, there is a certain opacity surrounding the facts. There is often some distance between policy and how and when it is implemented on the ground.
One report on the new rules stated they applied to those working no longer than 30 days in Vietnam at a time and no more than 90 days in a year. If true, it does suggest the regulations have been designed to ease the way for consultants coming to the country for short periods.
What is clearer, is that foreigners will still have to meet visa and other requirements. It remains to be seen if the Ministry of Public Security (which contains the Vietnam Immigration Department) is onboard with the changes.
Authorities are also mindful of protecting local workers from international competition. One official suggested there should be a Vietnamese language test for foreign workers to be able to work in the country. That would, in practice, fairly effectively rule out most international workers.
As part of the ASEAN Economic Community, Vietnam is already part of a flow of talent across the region. As an emerging economy it will also benefit from an influx of skilled, knowledgeable workers from around the world. Thirty years after instituting a return to a market economy, Vietnam is still trying to reconcile old reservations with new realities.
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