In our legal update "Vietnam's New Decree on Work Permits" of 16 December 2013, we summarised the provisions of the government's Decree 102, dated 5 September 2013, regarding work permits for expatriate employees working in Vietnam. To provide guidelines on the provisions of Decree 102, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs issued Circular No. 03/2014/TT-BLDTBXH (Circular 03) on 20 January 2014, which took effect from 10 March 2014.

Under Circular 03 an employer must, at least 30 days before its intended recruitment of an expatriate employee or expatriate employees, submit a report to the provincial labour authority where its head office is located explaining its need for the expatriate employees, the jobs that the expatriate employees will perform, the number of employees to be recruited, the requirements as regards professional qualifications and experience, the salary details and the terms (duration) of work. A report providing details of any new recruitment of, or the replacement of existing, expatriate employees must also be submitted 30 days before the intended recruitment. Both reports must be made using the prescribed form issued in conjunction with Circular 03. Approval for the recruitment of expatriate employees is given by the labour authority within 15 days from the date on which the reports were received.

Circular 03 also provides details of the procedure for obtaining a work permit. It also – to clarify the provisions of Decree 102 – provides for the type of documents to be submitted in order to evidence the qualifications of the employees to be recruited (i.e., to show that the expatriate employee is suitably qualified as a manager/chief executive officer, expert or technical employee). A new work permit will be granted if the work permit already issued is lost or damaged, or if the name, nationality, passport number or place of work of the work permit holder changes. The corresponding procedures for obtaining such new work permit are provided for by Circular 03.

For expatriate employees who are not subject to work permit requirements, the employer must apply to the labour authority for certification to avoid applying for the work permit.