Foreign workers required to obtain work permits to Vietnam

Foreign workers without work permits would be forced to leave the country, said deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa. The regulation comes under a draft decree which has been edited by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to submit to the Government.

The draft decree also regulates that highly qualified foreigners who worked as high-ranking experts would not need a work permit. Government Decree 34/CP, which regulates foreign worker recruitment and management, came into effect in April 2008, but enterprises that employed foreigners without permits only received administrative punishment under the regulation.

Foreign workers who did not obey the decree were to be expelled, but in fact, that never happened, and the level of punishment was not enough of a deterrent, said Hoa. Procedures to issue work permits would not be changed, but would be more strictly regulated, he added.

The draft decree would not have unnecessary procedures like the old one, under which the Minister of Public Security had to authorise any expulsions. Under the updated version, city police directors would have the power, said Hoa. He added: The draft decree creates good conditions for foreign workers with high levels of ability to work in Viet Nam, and manage other foreigners better.

According to ministry statistics, there are currently 57,000 foreign workers in the country, 70 per cent of whom do not have a work permit, and 30 per cent work under a visa.