New regulations regarding work entitlements for foreign employees came into force on 1 November 2013 and are now being implemented by some Departments of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA). The Departments have started to request that a written pre-approval letter from the Chairman of city/provincial People’s Committee be included in the work permit application.

In addition, stricter qualification requirements for experts have been set out. In general, an expert is someone with at least five years’ experience in a similar industry and position overseas, in addition to holding a university degree or equivalent.

The Government has also issued a new decree to implement sanctions of deportation of foreigners who violate the laws of Vietnam, which take effect from 17 November 2013. Sponsoring entities may be required to bear costs relating to the deportation where the foreigners being deported do not have the financial ability to pay these costs

Decree 102

Pre-approval prior to using foreign workforce in Vietnam is mandatory

Pre-approval from the Chairman of the city/provincial People’s Committee is now being requested by some DOLISAs as part of the work permit application submission process. This is unusual as the guiding circular has not yet been issued.

At this stage, there is no template or procedure for the approval request. The timeline for getting written pre-approval from the relevant authority is also unknown.

In practice, the authority verbally advises the employer it can submit the request for pre-approval to city/provincial DOLISAs so that they can assist to get the acceptance from the Chairman of the city/provincial People’s Committee. It is understood that employers can only lodge the work permit application after receiving the written pre-approval from the authorities.

Many changes in practice are expected until the guiding circulars are introduced.

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