Vietnam will lift restrictions on hiring foreign workers, allowing them to take even manual unskilled jobs for the first time in years.
According to a decree that will become effective on April 1, local employers are still required to seek candidates from the local workforce first. But if they fail to do so after a certain period of time, they can hire foreign workers instead.
Since 2003, foreigners have been banned from positions that Vietnamese workers can fill, which generally means only a number of foreign experts with high qualifications and sought-after skills are welcome.
Under the new rule, government agencies will assist employers to find the right Vietnamese candidates. If that 30-day search proves unsuccessful, the employers can look for workers from overseas. The required search period is 60 days if more than 500 workers are needed.
The decree also states that foreign teachers and researchers at educational institutions, such as high schools and universities, will no longer have to apply for a work permit. They will instead only need to obtain approval from the Ministry of Education and Training.
English teachers at language centers will still need work permits. Students from international schools do not need a permit for their internship in Vietnam.
The process of issuing a work permit will be shortened from 10 to seven days. Renewals take three days to process.
The maximum validity of a work permit will remain two years.
According to the decree, illegal foreign workers will be deported within 15 days after being caught.