As part of the ongoing issuance of decrees implementing the Labour Code, on 5 September, the Government issued Decree 102/2013/ND-CP (Decree 102) to provide guidelines on foreigners working in Vietnam.Decree 102 will be effective on 01 November and replaces Decree 34/2008/ND-CP dated 25March 2008 (Decree 34) and Decree 46/2011/ND-CP dated 17 June 2011.

Notable points in Decree 102 include:

1. On an annual basis, employers (with exceptions) are now required to submit a report to the Chairman of the local People’s Committee (PC) to set out their needs for expat workers in the year. The report must detail each working position which Vietnamese employees are not able to perform. Any changes in needs during the year must also be reported. The Chairman of the PC shall then issue an approval to each employer setting out each position which the employer is allowed to recruit.

2. In addition to those already given in Article 172 of the Labour Code, Decree 102 sets out more cases where foreigners working in Vietnam are exempt from work permits, such as volunteers, teachers at international schools under diplomatic mission management and so on. At least 7 days prior to the date on which a foreigner who is subject to work permit exemption begins work, a written confirmation should be sought from the relevant Department of Labour. Documents required for seeking such confirmations are simplified compared with those previously required under Decree 34.

3. Decree 102 restates the provision in the Labour Code that the maximum term of a work permit is 2 years, and permits can be re-issued in certain circumstances such as expiration, change of the contents of the work permit and so on. The application dossier for a work permit re-issuance is simpler than that for the first issuance.

4. Work permits issued before the effectiveness of Decree 102 takes effect (i.e. 01 November) shall remain valid and no re-registration is required.

5. Although mentioned in Vietnam’s accession commitments to theWTO, the following categories of foreigners working here are now for the first time used in a government decree: (i) persons responsible for the establishment of a commercial presence; and (ii) managers, executives, professionals and technical workers. Volunteers are also now added to the list.

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