Pursuant to Decree 11/2016/ND-CP (“Decree 11”) – Detailed regulations implementing a number of articles of the Labor Code regarding foreign workers working in Vietnam, foreign workers Working in Vietnam must apply for a Work Permit (GP), except in cases where the work permit is exempted according to Article 7 of Decree 11. Foreign workers who cannot present a work permit will be deported and Enterprises that employ workers without work permits will also be fined from 30,000,000 VND to 75,000,000 VND (according to Article 22 – Decree No. 95/2013/ND-CP – Regulations on penalties for violations). administration in the fields of labor, social insurance and sending Vietnamese workers to work abroad under contracts).
1. What is a work permit?
A work permit is a document that allows foreigners to work legally in Vietnam. The work permit clearly states the employee’s information, the name and address of the organization where he or she works, and the working position. And foreigners are required to do the job exactly as stated in the license, otherwise it will be considered illegal.
According to Article 3, Circular 40/2016/TT-BLDTBXH, the agency issuing work permits is the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs and the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
A work permit has a maximum validity of 2 years, and is an important document for foreigners to apply for a temporary residence card in Vietnam.
Foreigners without a work permit will not be allowed to work in Vietnam, unless they are exempt from a work permit. However, in this case, foreign workers need to apply for a work permit exemption.
2. Cases of applying for a Work License:
New work permit issuance:
The worker has never had a work permit.
The employee has a valid work permit, works for another employer, in the same job position.
The employee has a valid work permit, works for the old employer, in a different job position.
Employees whose work permits have expired and want to continue working in the same position.
Reissue of work permit, extension of work permit:
A valid work permit is lost, damaged or the content written in the work permit is changed, except in special cases.
The work permit is valid for at least 5 days but not more than 45 days.
Apply for work permit exemption (in case of not being subject to a Work Permit) – Pursuant to Article 172, Section 3, Chapter 11, 2012 Labor Code:
Be a capital contributing member or owner of a limited liability company.
As a member of the Board of Directors of a joint stock company.
Head of representative offices and projects of international organizations and non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.
Enter Vietnam for less than 03 months to offer services.
Entering Vietnam for a period of less than 03 months to handle technical problems and situations…
Other cases according to Government regulations
However, to be exempt from a work permit, foreign workers must submit an application for confirmation and explanation to the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
3. Important notes when applying for a work permit
Important documents to prepare to apply for a work permit: Official letter approving the recruitment of foreign workers; Employee qualifications; Confirmation of experience working abroad or confirmation of experts in equivalent positions; Judicial Records; Health certificate (Depending on each case of applying for a Work Permit, specific documents are required).
Foreign documents must be consularly legalized, translated into Vietnamese and authenticated according to Vietnamese law.
The field of study on the degree and job title on the foreign experience certificate must be equivalent to the job position you are applying for in Vietnam.
Vietnamese or foreign criminal records are only valid for 6 months (up to the time of submitting the application for a work permit).
Health certificate (health certificate) is valid for 12 months.
When submitting your application, you must prepare carefully and give a reasonable explanation to the State officials about your application.
4. Penalties if foreigners do not have a work permit
If foreigners without work permits work at businesses in Vietnam, both the employee and the business will be fined. These forms of sanctions are clearly stipulated in Article 22 of Decree 88/2015/ND-CP as follows:
Penalties for workers without work permits
Workers who work in Vietnam but do not have a work permit according to the provisions of law, unless not subject to a work permit, will be deported from Vietnam.
Penalties for employers who employ workers without work permits:
When an enterprise uses workers without a work permit or without a certificate confirming that they are not eligible for a work permit or uses workers with an expired work permit, the enterprise will be subject to following penalties:
Monetary fine:
From 30,000,000 VND to 45,000,000 VND if employing 01 to 10 workers without a work permit or without a confirmation that they are not subject to a work permit or using workers with a work permit expired;
From 45,000,000 VND to 60,000,000 VND if the violation involves 11 to 20 people;
From 60,000,000 VND to 75,000,000 VND if the violation involves 21 people or more.
Suspended operations from 01 month to 03 months for employers who commit the above violations.
5. Pham Consult’s Labor License service
With much experience in applying for work permits as well as other types of personal documents for foreigners, Pham Consult provides work permit services with the most competitive costs on the market, supporting giving customers maximum convenience in their work:
  • Consulting on conditions and procedures for issuing work permits;
  • Consulting and drafting documents explaining the need to use foreign workers and forms for applying for work permits;
  • Representing customers to submit applications and receive results at state agencies;
  • Support customers with translation and copying of documents;
  • Consulting and explaining to the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs in case problems arise.
Please contact us at the contact address below for any issues related to Work Permits. Pham Consult always wishes and commits to providing customers with the best advice and support at the most reasonable cost.

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