"Vietnam Work Permit Information makes it legal to Take a Job You Might Hate, Legally"
Requirements to Work in Vietnam
Information on Work permits for Vietnam is now essential because it's illegal to work without one. But I have never met anyone who's had any trouble and NONE of them have ever held a valid work permit.
But I tied to get it. I went through the process and I hope what ever work permit information I know is of help.
There is a grace period that can be up to a year. If anyone asks you, just say:
"It's in Process." And you'll be fine.
If you choose to work in Vietnam then try to find a good source of work permit information.
Most schools will force you through the long, tedious, almost ridiculous process of obtaining a work permit. And yet, they have little to no good work permit information to offer you.
Even if they have any work permit information on Vietnam, it's often flawed.
I went full out to get a work permit and got deep into the process. But, having the work permit information for Vietnam I have now, and looking back, I would never have started the process in the first place.
Changing places of work is common in Vietnam. When I begin a new job with a new school, I now outright refuse to get a work permit.
They always ask and always insist that their work permit information is reliable. But it never is and they always hire me despite my refusal to get a work permit.
So don't be railroaded by them. If they can, they'll have you working for free.
How to get a work permit for Vietnam
Proof that You've been Living in Vietnam for 6 or more Months
You pay a 20% rate of tax on all your income if you have been in the country less than 6 months. More on taxes later.
The work permit information package that you can get at the tax office will give you all the details. But what incentive to report your earnings if you are just going to have to pay the government 20% of it?
So, I never told them I had worked the previous 6 months. I said that I had been touring around Vietnam.
As you can see, you will be on your own in getting the necessary documents for your work permit application.
Just writing this page excites me when I think back to the joyous tribulations of getting my own work permit!
A Health Check performed at a hospital in Vietnam by a pre-approved Doctor
This will cost about $57USD and you should be issued the documents the same day. You will get a list of hospitals and the approved doctors you need to see from your school.
If they don't even have that work permit information, change schools.
A Criminal Check Done in Vietnam at the Central Police Headquarters
They want to see that you've not committed ANY crimes during your previous 6 months in the country. All the forms you'll have to fill out are only in Vietnamese language.
Take someone with you who speaks the language and is willing to help you. Sometimes the school will send someone along with you. Ask them and if they say no, change schools.
The criminal check will cost you about $10USD. You will be required to produce an original Proof of Residency Document.
This document is held by your landlord or hotel owner and is a record kept with police and recorded in a book held by whoever owns the property you are renting.
All residents; foreign or local, must keep the police apprised of their whereabouts at all times. Photocopies are not accepted. You will have to borrow the original book from your landlord and take it to the central Police Headquarters.
And the landlord won't be happy about that and will outright refuse if he does not have the proper permits to rent to a foreign national. Lots of fun in a barrel of joy!
Sounds complicated? I'm just getting started!
A Criminal Check done in Your Home Country
For some nationalities this is a long and tedious process. For others it is almost impossible.
If you are a Canadian with the right work permit information then all you have to do is get fingerprinting done and send the application off to the police station nearest your most recent address.
Processing time is 6-8 months and the cost was $70CAN Dollars about 10 months ago or the last time I inquired (Including tax and fingerprinting services).
For Americans, you have to fly back to your home country as they will not issue this document without you personally present!
I've heard recently that the U.S. government has implemented something to make this process easier. I believe that you can now hand over power of attorney to a relative and have them pick it up and forward it to you via the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam.
And What If You Have a Criminal Record?
It's only a level 3 Police check so anything like parking tickets, juvenile charges, pardons and probations don't not show up on a level 3 police check. And if you are a criminal then just don't apply. Do the funky Teflon dance and you could carry that on for years.
Sorry to go off like that but I don't figure anyone is actually going to read this stuff!
Have Your Embassy Rubber Stamp Their Approval on All Documents
It's great to watch their dexterity. One hand in your pocket and the other directing an all powerful, magic chunk of rubber.
Take your health check documents, both police clearances, your University Degree (In any field) and your TEFL or CELTA certificate and have them stamped by your Embassy to confirm that they are valid documents.
Each stamp will cost you up to $8USD.
Don't worry. They don't actually stamp your original documents but an official copy instead.
Have all documents translated
You must have all the documents translated into Vietnamese language by a proven, official (Expensive) translation firm. I know of a few firms but I managed to get it done for free.
At Ho Chi Minh University a student can do it and have it approved by the professor.
I just went to the school, found the professor of English and asked him. He looked at me odd at first but he took my school transcripts and all my documents and a week later handed them back.
The Labor Board approved them all so there's another option for those who want to save a few hundred dollars.
It is a tedious process to say the least. But that is the culture of Vietnam. They are all so worried of making a mistake that they won't ever decide on anything.
They just pass it on and on and you wait till you're old.
Submit your Documents and Wait
I have yet to complete this entire process. My work permit information for Vietnam stops here as my experience at this point is null.
I have gotten to lofty nearness but fate was not mine. I got the documents done and handed them into the proper school officials.
5 months later I went home for a holiday and asked for the return of my documents. I got them back with more than a few layers of dust on them. I think they just sat on someone's desk gathering air-boogers for the last 5 months.
I've spent 2 years at work Vietnam but that's over a 4 year period of time. I come to work in Vietnam, save all the money I can (Average about $900USD a month) and then I'm off again to Africa or Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or back home to see Mom!
It sounds more glamorous than it is. The truth is I don't really feel I have a long future doing this. Maybe teaching but traveling so much wears you out.
And as I write this I am conflicted because the most personally rewarding thing I've ever done was take off for Asia and become an English Teacher.
I never had a foundation before but the experiences I've had over here have given me that.
And now when they ask me to begin the process of getting my work permit, I smile and say:
"Sure! I'll get right down to my Embassy." And they usually never ask again.
The truth is most foreigners working in Vietnam are doing so without work permits. They know all the work permit information and they've just said 'no'. I've met lots of English Teachers, perhaps the majority of them!
I only know 2 who managed to get work permits.
If the Vietnamese government ever decided to crack down on illegal foreign workers, they would give ample notice to avoid any embarrassment. Ease into it, I hope.
So, if you want to do some work in Vietnam then you need to decide if you are going to push to get a legal work permit from your company or not. It certainly is a risk, however small, of working illegally but most schools simply don't even want you to get one.
Getting a work permit has its benefits as well. Any job in any company looking for an English Teacher will take YOU over any other applicant. I've seen it happen.
Both people I know who finally managed to get a work permit are working in top Universities with health care benefits, housing provided and salaries ranging up to $3,500USD a month!
And I can't forget to mention your Government sponsored right to pay taxes.
What Taxes to Pay?
On the first 8,000,000VND (Vietnam Dong) = ($500USD), you pay no tax. Any earnings beyond 8,000,000VND and up to 28,000,000VND you'll have 10% Tax deducted from your salary.
Any earnings exceeding 28,000,000VND will be docked 20% for income tax.
These numbers apply only to those who've lived in Vietnam for more than 6 months. Anyone under that mark is charged 25% tax on every dime you earn. Work Permit or not.
Negotiate. Tell them you won't pay more than %10 and if they really need you, they'll foot the bill. I've seen it done.
I avoid almost all taxes by working for 3 different schools. Each school pays me around 10,000,000VND each. So my tax is minimal and I take home between $1,800USD - $2,000USD a month.
If you tell the school that you are working elsewhere they might try to deduct that tax also. Not often but it happened to me once when I let it slip that I had other work.
Enjoy working in Vietnam and I hope this work permit information page was helpful. Tell us Your Work Permit or Vietnam work Visa experiences below or read what others have written.
The first entry is the official Vietnamese Government's documentation about requirements for working in Vietnam.
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