The impact of COVID-19 outbreak on entry and work permits of foreigners in Vietnam

Due to swift and complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Government has imposed numerous drastic measures and restrictions on personal movement to limit interpersonal contact and minimize the spread of the virus.

In response to quick increase of the number of new infections cases, the Government has recently issued instructions and measures on COVID-19 prevention regarding entry, work permits and residence of foreigners as follows.

1. Temporary Suspension Of Entry Of All Foreigners

According to Notification No. 118/TB-VPCP dated 21 March 2020 of the Government Office, the Vietnamese Government has decided to temporarily suspend entry of all foreigners, all overseas Vietnamese and their spouses and children who have been granted with certificate of visa exemption from 22 March 2020.

For those entering Viet Nam for diplomatic and official purposes, for participation in major diplomatic events, or being experts, business managers, highly skilled workers, can be considered for visa issuance if deemed necessary. However, they shall be subject to mandatory medical declaration in designated areas and be properly quarantined themselves at places of residence as per regulations.

2. Temporary Suspension of New Work Permit Issuance

According to Resolution No. 28/ NQ-CP dated 10 March 2020 of the Government, Vietnamese Government has requested the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs to temporarily suspend the issuance of new work permits to foreign employees from countries or territories infected by COVID-19.

Since there is no further official guidance from the ministry level on this topic, based on the verbal instructions from various officials in the Departments of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs ("DOLISA") in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, DOLISAs have stopped receiving application files for granting new work permits.

3. Renewal of Visas / Work Permits in special cases

According to Notification No. 118/TB-VPCP dated 21 March 2020 of the Government Office, renewal of expiring visas or work permits may still continue for following cases:

  • Foreigners who are unable to return to their country and must stay in Vietnam for work; or
  • Foreign experts, business managers, high skilled workers etc. who have obtained a medical certificate which proves negative for COVID-19 issued by a competent authority of the home country and such certificate must be accepted for entry into Vietnam and must be strictly  quarantined at accomodation place as per regulations.

For application files for renewal of work permit, based on our informal discussions with the DOLISAs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and in addition to the standard documents, foreign employees are requested to submit original passport proving no exit from Vietnam since 01 February 2020 and health certificate within the latest 14 days prior to the submission date. However, there has not been any official guidance on this requirement so far, and thus its application and enforcement could be varied from time to time.

*Please note that this Alert is based on the latest official documents and our resources available up to 30th March 2020.

With the situation of the COVID-19 epidemic evolving on a daily basis, the above could be rapidly changed depending on instructions of Vietnamese Government. We therefore urge individuals and companies to remain up to date with our alerts, so to stay abreast of the latest updates.

OUR SUPPORT

We do trust the above points are notable and sufficient, but should you have any questions or need a deeper discussion on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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