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Employing Foreign Workers in Vietnam – Things you need to know

March 20, 2024

Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for foreign workers due to its growing economy and business opportunities. However, navigating the process of employing foreign workers in Vietnam can be complex and challenging. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the requirements, procedures, and essential information you need to know when it comes to hiring foreign employees in Vietnam.

Employing Foreign Workers in Vietnam

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What are the requirements for employing foreign workers in Vietnam?

Work Permit Eligibility Criteria

Employing foreign workers in Vietnam is subject to certain eligibility criteria. Companies looking to hire foreign employees must meet specific requirements set by the Vietnamese government. These requirements include:

  1. Company Registration: The company must be legally registered in Vietnam and have a valid business license.
  2. Job Position: The position offered to the foreign worker must not be on the list of jobs restricted to Vietnamese citizens.
  3. Qualifications: The foreign worker must possess the necessary qualifications and experience required for the job.

Labor Market Test

Before hiring a foreign worker, companies in Vietnam are typically required to conduct a labor market test to demonstrate that there are no suitable local candidates available for the position. This test helps ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not negatively impact local employment opportunities.

Conducting a labor market test involves advertising the job vacancy through official channels and giving priority to Vietnamese candidates. The results of the test will determine whether the company can proceed with hiring a foreign worker for the position.

Compliance with Labor Laws

Employers in Vietnam must comply with all labor laws and regulations when employing foreign workers. This includes adhering to minimum wage requirements, working hour limits, and ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, regardless of their nationality.

Here are some key points to consider regarding compliance with labor laws when employing foreign workers in Vietnam:

  • Ensure that foreign workers receive equal treatment and benefits as local employees.
  • Provide proper training and orientation to foreign workers regarding Vietnamese labor laws and workplace regulations.
  • Keep accurate records of foreign employees’ contracts, working hours, and wages to ensure compliance with labor authorities.

How to recruit foreign workers in Vietnam?

Recruitment Channels

Recruiting foreign workers in Vietnam can be done through various channels, including online job portals, recruitment agencies, and professional networks. Companies seeking to hire foreign talent should consider the following strategies:

  1. Online Platforms: Utilize popular job websites and platforms that cater to international job seekers looking for opportunities in Vietnam.
  1. Recruitment Agencies: Partner with reputable recruitment agencies specializing in connecting foreign professionals with job opportunities in Vietnam.
  1. Networking Events: Attend industry-specific events, job fairs, and networking sessions to connect with potential foreign candidates who are already in Vietnam or looking to relocate.

Interview and Selection Process

Once potential candidates have been identified, companies must conduct a thorough interview and selection process to assess their qualifications, experience, and cultural fit within the organization. This process may involve multiple rounds of interviews, skills assessments, and reference checks.

Step Description
Initial Screening Review resumes and applications to shortlist candidates based on qualifications and experience.
Interviews Conduct face-to-face or virtual interviews to assess candidates’ skills, competencies, and fit.
Skills Assessment Administer tests or practical assessments to evaluate candidates’ technical abilities and knowledge.
Reference Checks Contact previous employers or references to verify candidates’ work history and performance.

Onboarding and Integration

Once a foreign candidate has been selected for a position, it is essential to provide comprehensive onboarding and integration support to facilitate a smooth transition into the new role and work environment. This may include orientation sessions, language training, and cultural awareness programs.

Creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment for foreign workers is crucial for their success and retention within the organization. Employers should offer support services, mentorship programs, and opportunities for social integration to help foreign employees feel valued and connected to the company.

What kind of visas and permits do foreign workers need?

Vietnam Business Visa

Foreign workers coming to Vietnam for short-term business activities, such as attending meetings, conferences, or negotiations, may require a Vietnam Business Visa. This visa allows individuals to stay in Vietnam for a limited period for specific business purposes.

To obtain a Vietnam Business Visa, foreign workers must submit an application through the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in their home country. The visa application process typically requires proof of the purpose of the visit, travel itinerary, and a letter of invitation from a Vietnamese business partner or employer.

Vietnam Work Permit

Foreign workers planning to work in Vietnam for an extended period are generally required to obtain a Vietnam Work Permit. This permit is essential for legal employment in the country and is issued by the Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs Vietnam.

Key requirements for obtaining a Vietnam Work Permit include:

  • Valid passport with at least six months’ validity.
  • Health check certificate issued by an authorized medical facility.
  • Criminal record clearance from the applicant’s home country or Vietnam.
  • Relevant educational and professional certificates.

Vietnam Residence Permit

In addition to a work permit, foreign workers staying in Vietnam for an extended period may need to apply for a Vietnam Residence Permit. This permit allows individuals to reside in the country legally and is typically linked to the duration of their work contract.

To apply for a Vietnam Residence Permit, foreign workers must submit an application to the immigration authorities in Vietnam. The application process may require proof of accommodation, employment status, and financial stability to demonstrate the individual’s ability to support themselves during their stay in Vietnam.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Vietnam?

Work Permit Processing Time

The processing time for obtaining a work permit in Vietnam can vary depending on various factors, including the completeness of the application, the workload of the authorities, and any additional requirements that need to be met. On average, the timeline for securing a work permit in Vietnam is approximately 30 to 45 days.

During the application process, employers and foreign workers should ensure that all required documents are submitted accurately and promptly to avoid delays. Working closely with legal advisors or consultants experienced in Vietnamese labor laws can help streamline the process and expedite the issuance of the work permit.

Expedited Processing Options

In some cases where urgent approval is needed, employers may opt for expedited processing services offered by certain agencies or government departments. These services can significantly reduce the processing time for work permit applications, allowing foreign workers to start their employment in Vietnam sooner.

Processing Option Description
Standard Processing Follows the regular timeline for work permit approval, typically ranging from 30 to 45 days.
Expedited Processing Offers accelerated review and approval of work permit applications, reducing processing time to 15-20 days.

Renewal and Extension

It is important to note that work permits in Vietnam have a limited validity period and may need to be renewed or extended before expiration. Employers should initiate the renewal process well in advance to ensure continuity of employment for their foreign workers.

Renewing a work permit in Vietnam involves submitting updated documentation, such as a new employment contract, health check certificate, and criminal record clearance. By proactively managing the renewal process, employers can avoid disruptions to their foreign employees’ work status and legal compliance.

What documents are required to apply for a work permit?

Mandatory Documents

When applying for a work permit in Vietnam, employers and foreign workers must prepare a comprehensive set of documents to support the application process. Some of the essential documents required for a work permit application include:

  1. Application Form: Completed and signed by both the employer and the foreign worker.
  2. Employment Contract: A legally binding agreement outlining the terms and conditions of employment.
  1. Health Check Certificate: Issued by an approved medical facility certifying the foreign worker’s physical fitness.

Educational and Professional Certificates

Foreign workers are typically required to provide copies of their educational and professional certificates to demonstrate their qualifications and expertise related to the job position. These documents play a crucial role in validating the foreign worker’s suitability for the role they are being hired for.

Here are some common educational and professional certificates that may be required for a work permit application in Vietnam:

  • University degree or diploma relevant to the job position.
  • Professional certifications or licenses related to the field of work.
  • Training certificates demonstrating specialized skills or expertise.

Passport and Identification Documents

Foreign workers must submit copies of their valid passport and other identification documents as part of the work permit application process. These documents are essential for verifying the identity and nationality of the foreign worker seeking employment in Vietnam.

Ensuring that all required documents are accurately prepared and submitted is crucial for a successful work permit application in Vietnam. Employers and foreign workers should pay close attention to the document requirements outlined by the Vietnamese authorities to avoid delays or complications during the application process.


Employing foreign workers in Vietnam offers unique opportunities for businesses to access diverse talent and expertise from around the world. However, the process of hiring foreign employees requires careful planning, adherence to legal requirements, and effective management of visa and permit applications. By understanding the key requirements, procedures, and considerations involved in employing foreign workers in Vietnam, companies can navigate the complexities of international recruitment successfully and foster a productive and inclusive work environment for all employees. Whether obtaining work permits, recruiting foreign talent, or ensuring compliance with labor laws, proactive engagement with legal advisors and government authorities is essential to facilitate a smooth and lawful employment process for foreign workers in Vietnam.