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VIETNAM – Work Permit Exemption for Intra-Company Transferees From 22 December 2014

On 5 November 2014, The Ministry Of Industry and Trade issued Circular 41/2014/TT-BCT stipulating the requirements and procedures for work permit exempted intra-company foreign transferees.

The exemption applies to transferees who work in Vietnam for enterprises operating in the 11 service sectors specified in Vietnam’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitment. The circular is expected to come into force on 22 December 2014.

What are the main conditions for intra-company transferees to be exempted from obtaining a work permit?

  • The foreign transferee holds a managerial position, or is an expert / specialist or technician;
  • The foreign transferee should have been working for the foreign company for at least 12 months 
prior to being seconded to the Vietnam-based entity;
  • The Vietnam-based entity must operate in one of the 11 service sectors defined in the annexes to the circular.

Documents required for work permit exemption that are not in Vietnamese are exempt from consular legalization, but they must be translated into Vietnamese and authenticated in accordance with Vietnamese law.

What are the 11 service sectors which qualify for work permit exemption?

  1. Business Services;
  2. Communications services;
  3. Construction and related engineering service;
  4. Distribution services;
  5. Educational Services;
  6. Environmental services;
  7. Financial services;
  8. Health and Social related services;
  9. Tourism and Travel related services;
  10. Recreational, Cultural and Sporting services;
  11. Transportation services.

However, not all subsectors listed in the WTO commitments on services are included in the list for exemption.

What is the procedure for obtaining the work permit exemption?

The Work Permit exemption application should be lodged at the provincial Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (DeLISA), which assumes responsibility for defining the exemption.

In case of doubt, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) will confirm whether or not the Vietnam-based entity’s operation is included in the 11 qualifying service sectors.

In case of rejection, an appeal for review from the Vietnam-based entity is possible and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will re-examine the case.

Delays Expected

It is likely that the implementation phase of these new regulations will take many months, during which time there will be considerable uncertainty about which jobs qualify, and delays in obtaining decisions from DeLISA and MOIT. Obtaining a full work permit may, in some cases, still prove to be the best option for some employers.

Action Items

  • Anyone planning intra-company transfer to Vietnam in any of the qualifying service sectors should consider applying for a work permit exemption, but should be prepared for a delayed decision and the possibility that a work permit application may be preferable.

This alert was prepared using information provided by Resident Vietnam.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.