Since the outbreak of Covid-19, various complaints have arisen regarding the issuance and renewal of work permits in Vietnam. Many employers, particularly in industries reliant on foreign labor, have encountered difficulties in obtaining and renewing work permits for their employees.
Complaints often include issues related to extended processing times, unclear requirements, and frequent changes in regulations and procedures, which have made it challenging for both employers and foreign workers to navigate the system.
History of TRC (Temporary Residence Card)
The difficulties in obtaining TRCs for expats and investors in Vietnam date back to the early 1990s when Vietnam began opening up to foreign investment. While the country embraced foreign investment, the bureaucratic processes involved in obtaining TRCs remained complex.
The issuance of TRCs was initially seen as a means to regulate the presence of foreign individuals and investors in the country while ensuring that they adhere to local laws and regulations.
TRC Status During Covid
During the Covid-19 pandemic, as with work permits, the issuance and renewal of TRCs faced significant disruptions. The pandemic led to many uncertainties in the immigration and visa processes, causing difficulties for expatriates and investors.
Delays, temporary restrictions on entry and exit, and the closure of certain visa processing offices all contributed to the challenges of obtaining or renewing TRCs during this period.
Complaints in Early 2022
In early 2022, as Vietnam announced plans to reopen its borders, the business community expressed concerns about the difficulties in obtaining TRCs. Expatriates and investors have voiced frustration with the length and complexity of the process.
One of the main complaints during this time was that the requirements for TRCs appeared to be changing frequently, making it challenging for expatriates and investors to plan their stays in Vietnam with confidence.
Main Reasons for TRC Denial or Slow Processing
Some of the main reasons put forward to explain the denial or slow processing of TRCs include changes in regulations and requirements, lack of clarity in documentation, and inefficiencies in the application and review process.
The government has also cited the need to ensure that foreign individuals and investors comply with local laws and regulations as a reason for thorough vetting, which can lead to delays.
Exclusions from Easily Getting TRCs
Discrimination based on race, gender, or political affiliations is not typically an official part of TRC denial or approval criteria. Vietnam’s laws prohibit such discrimination.
However, there may be anecdotal reports of discrimination or unequal treatment in practice, which are generally discouraged by the Vietnamese government and criticized by the international community.
It’s important to note that the specific challenges and experiences related to TRC and work permits in Vietnam may vary among individuals, industries, and regions, and it’s advisable to seek updated information and guidance from relevant authorities for the most accurate and current details on these matters.
Decree 70 Changes Improve Work Permit Issuance
The changes proposed by Decree è0 aim to simplify and streamline the process for employing foreign labor in the country, making it more flexible and clear for both employers and foreign workers. Here’s a recap of the main amendments and their implications:
Educational Requirements and Evidence
- Elimination of the requirement for the degree to match the experience and job position for expert positions.
- No need for the training field to be related to the experience and job position for skilled workers.
- Acceptance of graduation certificates as educational evidence for experts.
- Past work permits or work permit exemption certificates serve as evidence of foreign labor’s working experience.
- Clarification of executive positions, including heads of branches, representative offices, business locations, and those directly supervising divisions.
- Sponsors can certify copies of foreign labor’s passports, eliminating the need for notarized true copies.
- Simplified procedures for foreign lawyers and foreign labor married to Vietnamese citizens to obtain work permit exemption certificates.
- Work permit exemption certificates for foreign labor in managerial, executive, principal, and deputy principal roles for educational institutions established by foreign diplomatic representative agencies or intergovernmental organizations as foreign teachers.
Application Procedure Changes
- Requirement for businesses to submit job postings 15 days before applying for foreign labor.
- Inclusion of all work locations within the same province in the application for foreign labor working in different locations.
- Notification to authorities within three days of employees’ start date.
- Centralization of foreign labor recruitment and management with monthly reports to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs.
Terminology and Documentation
- Replacement of “university degree” with “university graduated.”
- Reworking of degree and experience requirements, with relevance applying only to experience.
- New definitions for “Executive director.”
- Submission of foreign labor demand reports at least 15 days before the expected work start date, with no expiry date.
- Introduction of new forms for foreign labor demand requests and changes.
- Application of labor market testing requirements from January 1, 2024.
- Addressing work in multiple provinces and locations within the same province.
Eligibility Criteria for Categories
- Detailed eligibility criteria provided for “Manager,” “Executive,” “Expert,” and “Technical worker” categories.
- Simplified application requirements for experts and technical workers.
- Narrowing down the authorities responsible for handling foreign labor matters to DOLISA and MOLISA.
Simplification of Procedures
- Acceptance of work permit re-issuance in case of a company name change with the same enterprise number.
- Acceptance of a company-certified copy of a passport for work permits.
These changes should make it more straightforward for businesses to employ foreign workers in Vietnam while ensuring that the employment process is transparent and efficient.
Read the original decree from September 18, 2023 here:
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