Vietnam's officials have pledged to simplify administrative procedures involving foreign workers in the country, including relaxing work permit and visa requirements for them.
Duong Manh Hung, director of the Foreign Labor Department under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said the government has instructed his agency to draft proposals on requirements for foreign professional workers.
“It has been too strict when we require foreigners to have at least a bachelor degree and five years of experience in their field to be able to work in Vietnam,” he told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.
Hung said amendments to Decree 102 on foreign labor in Vietnam are expected to be approved and enforced in the third quarter this year.
“We are also considering two proposals especially for workers from Southeast Asia, either removing work permit requirements or keeping them to the minimum,” he said.
Policy makers will also propose favorable policies for employees being transferred to Vietnam from the same company abroad. Currently, they have to apply for a work permit just like other employees who are being recruited for the first time.
The conference attracted an audience of more than 200 representatives of foreign businesses, associations and law firms who also shared their concerns on immigration issues.
Benjamin Yap, senior partner at PBC Partners & RHTLaw, said a common concern for many foreigners in Vietnam is not entering Vietnam, but leaving the country.
“If facing a pending civil suit, foreigners cannot leave the country in three years. It’s a good reminder for foreigners to be careful or they can get stuck in Vietnam. But it can be not very positive in case they are victims of sabotage efforts,” he said.
In response, Colonel Nguyen Van Anh, director of the HCMC Immigration Department, said that a foreigner cannot easily be banned from leaving Vietnam.
“There has to be a court decision, which is based on advice from relevant agencies after thorough consideration. And the three-year ban is actually the maximum ban.”
Anh said in reality the government often tries to limit the use of this ban on foreigners.