April 17, 2020
Visa tips

[2020] Changes in Work Permit, Immigration Procedures

The New Labor Code and the Amended Law on the Immigration of Foreigners In Vietnam have been passed recently. This New Amended Law On Immigration is due to take effect on July 1st, 2020 while the New Labor Code will start on January 1st, 2021. These new changes will affect those foreigners who are entitled to a work permit exemption. It also covers the ability for foreign workers to renew work permits. Furthermore, the amendments will also affect the residence terms, changing visa type, and other immigration-related concerns.

Why The Amended Labor Law Matters

There has been an increasing number of foreign workers in Vietnam over the past few years. And this is expected to increase considerably in the coming years. In order to enforce the proper management of foreign workers in the country, several changes have been introduced to amend the New Labor Code. These changes will give Vietnam’s labor authorities more control over foreign workers. This will also allow them more authority to review the status of the foreign employees employed by Vietnamese companies.

Meanwhile, the Amended Law on Immigration will help foreign workers easily and conveniently applying for a work permit. The amended law also aims to help foreign visitors easily applying for residence permits while in Vietnam.

Employers should be fully aware of these changes. That way, they would be able to update and review the current status of their foreign employees. This will allow them to issue proper work permits while adhering to the proper immigration procedures.

Changes in Labor Regulations That Could Affect Work Permit Applications

The following conditions are exempted from obtaining a work permit:

  • A foreign national who is married to a Vietnamese citizen. In line with this, the immediate sponsor of the foreign national can be changed to the spouse. For instance, if a Vietnam organization is sponsoring the foreign individual, the organization can transfer the sponsorship to the wife or husband of the individual involved. Further regulations will be issued in the future for proper guidance concerning this matter.
  • Foreign nationals who are owners or shareholders of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), including members of joint-stock companies, are also exempted from obtaining a work permit. However, the shareholders invested amount should be within the threshold amount set by the government. As of now, the government has not yet revealed the threshold requirements.

Amendments on the Renewing of Work Permits

Generally, work permits are valid for up to two years. Under the new regulations, the permit can only be renewed once. Upon renewal, the permit will remain valid for two more years.

Changes on Immigration Procedures

Aside from the amendment on Labor Laws, there will also be changes to the Immigration Laws of Vietnam.

First is the changing of visa. Currently, in order for a change of visa to be possible, the foreign visitor must first leave Vietnam. Then they can re-enter using the new visa. Thankfully, the new policy has relaxed the rules concerning the changing of visa. In fact, foreigners who intend to change visas no longer need to get out of the country under the following situations:

  • An investor of a Vietnam company or a representative of a foreign organization with investments in Vietnam.
  • Family or relative of a Vietnamese national, a parent, child, or spouse.
  • Invited or sponsored to enter in Vietnam for employment, provided that there’s a work permit or work permit exemption, whatever applies.
  • Entering Vietnam using an electronic visa or e-visa and was granted a work permit or work permit exemption.

Visa-Free Entry and Exit

For foreigners who came from countries where Vietnam has a unilateral agreement and grants them visa-free entry, it’s no longer necessary that their re-entry date is at least 30 days prior to the last exit date in Vietnam.

Residence Term

The Amended Law on Immigration has recommended a maximum residence term of up to 30 days for foreign visitors. This used to be 90 days under their tourist visa. But foreign visitors will now be given an option to extend the term of their residency when necessary. In line with this, the immigration authority must first re-assess the immigration purpose to decide whether the extension request will be granted or not.

Conclusion

These changes on Vietnam’s Immigration Laws were made in order to allow for more efficient management of foreign tourists living in Vietnam. The Vietnam authorities are fully aware that there are a few foreigners who have breached the country’s immigration laws. Others are working without the proper permit. Some foreigners will enter the country on a tourist visa and will take up jobs in the country. This will have a major impact on the country’s labor situation. By amending the laws on immigration and labor, the government hopes to address these problems.

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