9 October 2023

On 18 September 2023, Vietnam issued Decree No. 70/2023/ND-CP which amends and supplements Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 152”) regulating foreign employees in Vietnam (“Decree 70”).

This article highlights some of the key amendments.

Definition of “experts” and “technicians”

Decree 70 revises the definitions of “experts” and “technicians” by removing the requirement that a foreign employee seeking to qualify as an “expert” or a “technician” must have qualifications and training in the specific field of the proposed job.  A foreigner can qualify as an expert if, inter alia, such foreigner has at minimum a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and at least three years’ work experience “suitable” to the proposed job. Similarly, a foreigner can qualify as a “technician” if, inter alia, such foreigner has at least one year of training and a minimum of three years of work experience that is “suitable” for the intended job.

Definition of “executive”

Decree 70 expands the scope of the term “executive”, and defines an “executive” to mean a person who falls into one of the following categories:

  • the head of a branch, representative office, or business location of the enterprise,
  • the person who leads and directly manages at least one field of the agency, organisation, or enterprise and is under the direct command and management of the head of such agency, organisation, or enterprise.

These revisions to the above definitions make it easier for foreigners to qualify as “experts”, “technicians” and “executives” under Vietnam law, which in turn makes it easier for such foreigners to obtain work permits and/or qualify for the exemptions to work permit requirements set out under Decree 152.    

Procedure for employing foreigners

Decree 70 reduces the time frame within which an employer must notify the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (“Ministry”) that it requires foreigners for jobs that cannot be met by local Vietnamese. Pursuant to Decree 70, an employer will need to report and explain to the Ministry such need at least 15 days before the relevant foreigners are expected to commence employment. Previously, the Ministry had to be provided with at least 30 days’ advance notice. Similarly, the timeframe within which the Ministry must be notified of changes to an employer’s foreign employee demand has also been reduced to 15 days from the date the relevant foreigners are expected to commence employment.  

Decree 70 also expands the circumstances in which an employer is relieved of its obligation to comply with the above foreign employee demand notification obligations to include, inter alia, where the foreign employee is a foreign lawyer who has obtained a lawyer’s practicing certification in Vietnam and where the employee is married to a Vietnam citizen and intends to reside in Vietnam.

Decree 70 further provides that from 1 January 2024, employers seeking to employ foreigners are required to advertise the job position on the Ministry’s online portal. The advertisement must be posted at least 15 days before the employer reports its foreign employee demand (or changes thereto) to the Ministry and must include certain prescribed content of the relevant job (such as the job position and title, job description, quantity of workers required for such job, qualification and experience requirements, salary, working hours and working location).

Notification where foreign employee works in multiple locations

Where a foreign employee works for an employer in multiple provinces or centrally governed cities, the employer must, within three working days from the date the foreign employee begins work, notify the Ministry of the foreign employee’s work locations.