Articles
Employment of foreign manual workers in Vietnam – More restrictions introduced

30 - 08 - 2011
By Tran Thi Cam Giang*

In recent years, the number of foreigners working in Vietnam has increased on a daily basis. This is due largely to an increase in the number of foreign investment projects in Vietnam. These foreign workers come from different countries such as China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. and work at different positions including managers, executive directors, experts, and manual workers.

According to Decree No. 34/2008/ND-CP dated 25 March 2008 on management and administration on foreigners working in Vietnam ("Decree 34") foreign manual workers are not allowed to work in Vietnam. In practice, however, it generally happens that foreign manual workers come to Vietnam under tourist visas and are employed illegally by foreign contractors.

In an effort to address the issues of foreign manual workers, the Government promulgated Decree No. 46/2011/ND-CP dated 17 June 2011, amending and supplementing a number of Articles of Decree 34 ("Decree 46").

The Decree provides that bidding invitation dossiers for tender offers must cover the anticipated needs for Vietnamese and foreigner laborers. Such plans must give priority to Vietnamese workers and if the contract requires foreigners, the tender must mention the positions, quantity, experience, and anticipated working time. During implementation of projects, investors are responsible for guiding, reminding and examining the recruitment and use of foreign employees by foreign contractors to ensure compliance with the law.

It appears that the use of foreign manual workers has become a criterion for bidding. In tender bids, foreign contractors are required to present their plan to use foreigners in accordance with requirements of the investors. During implementation of contractual packages, foreign contractors must follow the submitted plan for use of labor and are responsible for filing requests for recruitment of Vietnamese laborers to the local People's Committee as necessary.

Foreign contractors may have the right to employ foreigners in positions planned for Vietnamese if Vietnamese laborers are not supplied within 60 days (if the number of Vietnamese needed is 500 or above) or 30 days (if the number of Vietnamese labor needed is less than 500). There is some criticism that these time limits are too short to be realistic and that large manpower needs will not be met within the specified timeframes. As a result, it is still likely that foreigners will be brought in to fill the gap.

Decree 46 enters effect 01 August 2011.

(*) Please contact the authors at giang.tran@indochinecounsel.com or our partners if you wish to have more information or specific advice for the topic of this article.

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