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Vietnam urged to amend rules to facilitate foreign laborers

Saturday, October 31, 2015, 11:25 GMT+7
Vietnam urged to amend rules to facilitate foreign laborers
Foreign experts are seen at the Dung Quat Oil Refinery in Quang Ngai Province, located in central Vietnam.

The current regulations on managing foreign labor in Vietnam should be changed in order to meet several reasonable demands from international employers and employees, experts said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.

In November 2014, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade issued the Circular No.41, which set the requirements foreign employees have to meet to be able to move to other positions within one same business without having to apply for a work permit.

The ministry collaborated with the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP) to hold the Friday event to introduce such a rule to international businesses and listen to their feedback as to any changes should be made.

The Circular No.41 was issued in a bid to improve and perfect the Vietnamese legal framework on managing foreign labor and enhance the country’s business environment, Luu Mai Lan, from the ministry’s planning department, told the conference.

The regulations also ensure the right and interest of foreign employees and their employers, Mai said.

The circular allows foreign laborers of 11 sectors in Vietnam’s WTO Commitments of the General Agreement on Trade in Services to be exempted from work permit requirements, if they move to work at other positions within their own business.

The 11 sectors include business, communication, construction, distribution, educational, environment, health, tourism, recreational, cultural and sporting, and transport services.

However, experts pointed out at the event that the Circular No.41 still has some shortcomings that need improvement to be on par with the current development of the global labor market during these times of free trade.

The circular does not cover some new investment schemes, such as the Public-Private Partnership, which are stipulated in new laws on investment that came into effect this year, according to experts.

Nguyen Viet Hung, lawyer with the Mayer Brown GSSM law firm, also suggested that foreign employees be exempted from the work permit rules if they are to move to another subsidiary under one same conglomerate.

“This is a very natural need of businesses,” the lawyer was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying.

“The industry and trade ministry should consider allowing foreign laborers to move between subsidiaries of one same parent firm to better simplify the administrative procedure.”

It has been reported that the Vietnamese government is drafting a regulation that will waive work permit requirements for foreign laborers who work in Vietnam for less than 30 days.

As of the end of 2014, Vietnam had 76,309 foreign laborers, with 7.35 percent, or 5,610 people, did not have to get a work permit, according to the employment agency under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

More than 92.6 percent of the foreign labors were required to have a work permit but only 55,263 out of 70,699 of them, or 78.17 percent, were permitted to work in Vietnam.

The remaining 15,436 were completing procedures to get their permit, according to the agency.

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