What is the change? Foreign nationals who hold work permits issued before Vietnam adopted its new labor and immigration law cannot renew their permits under old rules and must meet criteria under the new law.

What does the change mean? Holders of work permits issued before Nov. 1, 2013 must undergo a new medical exam, provide local police clearance, and, in some cases, show legalized degrees and work references as part of the renewal process.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits for specialists/experts and managers/directors/executivesissued before Nov. 1, 2013.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals seeking renewal of the above permits.
  • Impact on processing times: No direct impact, butthe new requirement increases the time needed to prepare a renewal application.
  • Business impact: The new rules add to the administrative burden of renewing certain work permits.
  • Next steps: Employers and foreign assignees should allow additional lead time to obtain and legalize the necessary documents.

Background: The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) issued Decree 102 in September 2013, changing the law on employment of foreign nationals. The law took effect Nov. 1, 2013.

Foreign specialists and experts who apply for renewal of work permits issued before Nov. 1, 2013 must submit a new medical exam, local police clearance, a legalized educational degree and a legalized work reference letter. If the work permit has expired, the applicant must also provide a legalized foreign police clearance certificate.

Foreign managers, directors and executives renewing work permits issued before the new law took effect must undergo a new medical exam and obtain a local police clearance.

BAL Analysis: Foreign assignees who have renewed work permits under the old rules may not be aware of the new requirements and should be reminded to start the renewal application process as soon as possible. A local police clearance takes approximately 20 days. Expatriates may have to travel to their home countries to obtain foreign police clearances.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Vietnam. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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